Metro Weekly

U.S. House Passes LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act

Legislation would require government agencies to collect LGBTQI data to ensure programs are adequately serving LGBTQI individuals.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – Photo by Todd Franson

Last Thursday, U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at making governmental data collection efforts more inclusive. 

The LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act was introduced last June by U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.). The act tasks over 100 federal agencies to include LGBTQI demographic data in government reports in order “to inform public policy and Federal programs,” according to the bill’s text.

The bill notes that only a few federal agencies require information on sexual orientation and gender identity, and none measure intersex populations.

Supporters of the bill say that collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity will help provide more inclusive and complete evaluations of current government programs, and allow agencies to tailor future programs or initiatives to the feedback they receive from surveys completed by citizens who make use of various government services.

“Full equality and sound policy can only be achieved when we count all members of our community,” Grijalva said in a statement last week. “Lawmakers and ​agencies are one step closer to finally ​having comprehensive data to craft better policies to remedy ​and address the disparities faced by LGBTQI+ individuals — particularly people of color — to ensure their needs are met.”

The bill’s passage comes a few months after the Biden administration announced several new policies intended to recognize and improve the lives of LGBTQI Americans. Some of those new policies included the introduction of an “X” gender-neutral marker on U.S. passport applications, new Transportation Security Administration scanners that are gender-neutral, changes to the Social Security system to allow people who have transitioned to more easily access benefits they’ve earned under their “deadname,” and new anti-discrimination initiatives in schools and in the workplace.

Another one of those policies included the promise of providing $10 million in funding for “critical research on how to best add questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which would assist in providing a snapshot of what LGBTQ-led households look like and from which federal programs they might benefit.

Following the passage in the House, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised the bill’s contents and urged the U.S. Senate to swiftly pass the measure.

“By passing the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act, we will ensure federal lawmakers has the data it needs to better tackle the disparities afflicting our LGBTQ friends and neighbors,” Pelosi said. “Collecting more voluntarily-provided data on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics will better equip our nation to identify and address these challenges.

“It is fitting that we passed this legislation as our nation celebrates Pride Month, when we renew our pledge to fight for full equality for all, no matter who you are or who you love,” Pelosi added. “Democrats will never relent in the fight to build a brighter, fairer future for all of our children — now and for generations to come.”

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