CA State Senate First Bill in Nation to Include Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation and Same-Sex Relationship Status in Two Statewide Government Surveys

06/02/2011, by Melanie Nathan,

Sacramento – Authored by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) and sponsored by Equality California, the bill would enable the state to gather vital data about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community; no that yesterday, the California State Senate passed the Survey Data Inclusion Act (SB 416). This requires the state to add questions about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, domestic partnership status and the gender of a spouse as voluntary demographic information collected in two California statewide surveys by 2013. The bill, authored by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) and sponsored by Equality California, passed in a 25-14 vote.

“The lives of LGBT Californians count. Our relationships and our health all count,” said Jim Carroll, Interim Executive Director of Equality California. “We are grateful to Senator Kehoe for spearheading the effort to include information about LGBT Californians in two of the most important statewide surveys conducted in California.”

“Data relating to California’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population is not currently being collected in a consistent manner by the state or federal government,” said Senator Christine Kehoe. “Up-to-date data collection by these surveys is critical to the LGBT community, service providers, and others in order to appropriately assess and provide much needed resources and services to this community.”

The bill would require the state to collect additional voluntary demographic data in the California Health Information Survey (CHIS), the nation’s largest state health survey that gives a detailed picture of the health and healthcare needs of California’s large and diverse population, and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, a federal survey administered by the state that tracks health conditions and risk behaviors in the United States since 1984. These statewide surveys currently collect demographic information such as race/ethnic identity, age, family size, health and safety information, and other data from Californians. However, data relating to California’s LGBT population is not consistently collected by the state or federal government.

To learn more about legislation sponsored by Equality California, please visit: www.eqca.org/legislation
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed more than 70 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. http://www.eqca.org


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