Bill to Include Demographic Data on Sexual Orientation Wins Committee ApprovalAssemblymember Ted W. Lieu

AB 1878, which would require the state to add questions about sexual orientation, gender identity and domestic partnership status in the voluntary demographic section of California’s government forms, passed today in the Assembly Business, Professions & Consumer Protection Committee.

Sponsored by Equality California, this first-of-its kind legislation would help the state gather vital data about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community’s use of public services. “California’s LGBT community – as a result of numerous bigoted laws such as the discriminatory prohibition against same-sex marriage and unequal social security regulations – suffers unique financial and other hardships not encountered by other communities,” said Assemblymember Ted Lieu (D-Torrance). “For example, there is evidence that there are a disproportional number of LGBT members who live in poverty. Data collection would help ensure state services can be appropriately targeted.”

Currently, there is an absence of demographic information about California’s LGBT population. This information deficit is largely due to the limited avenues for state agencies to collect data from this community.

Accurate demographic data is critical in the development of effective policies that respond to the needs of California’s residents. While California state government forms collect data on race, ethnicity, gender, and economic status, there is no collective information on gender identity, sexual orientation or domestic partnership status.

“AB 1878 will improve the state’s ability to measure the community’s needs for such crucial public services as job training, and it will ultimately enable California to ensure that LGBT Californians, especially those living in poverty, receive the services they need to take care of their families and to lead healthy lives,” said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California. “Currently the state collects little data on the LGBT community, and this bill would help close the information gap.”

“This bill is also about dignity and the recognition of the diversity of California,” said Lieu. “We need to recognize the importance of collecting in-depth data that is inclusive of California’s LGBT community.”

AB 1878 moves next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assemblymember Ted W. Lieu represents the 53rd Assembly District. He is also a military prosecutor.

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