Beginning in 2011, California's district lines will be drawn by a Citizens Redistricting Commission. The Commission is charged with drawing these lines in a nonpartisan way that creates districts of equal population size that provide fair representation for all Californians. Over the next few months, the Commission will be releasing draft maps of new district lines and considering public comments on their proposals.
The past few years, the California Legislature has been supportive of the LGBT community, passing over 80 pieces of legislation that advance LGBT rights in our state. But there's no guarantee that this support will continue.
New district lines could make it more difficult for LGBT people to elect legislators who represent our interests. We could see our progress towards full equality slow down to a snail's pace -- or worse, opponents of our equality could gain a stronghold in the legislature and roll back the protections we've worked so hard as a community to secure.
What's more, the Citizens Redistricting Commission is tasked with redrawing both state and federal districts. Our state could lose the ability to send strong voices for equality to Congress and to advance LGBT rights nationally.
It's critical that we make ourselves visible in the redistricting process and call for district lines that ensure fair representation for LGBT and allied communities.
Maps of California's LGBT Communities of Interest
With the assistance of Redistricting Partners, Equality California has prepared the following maps to assist local communities in understanding where LGBT communities of interest lie. Advocates around the state can use this data when discussing proposals for the placement of new district lines.
What Is a "Community of Interest?"
Proposition 20 in 2010 defined a "community of interest" as "a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation." In plain English, groups that share social and economic interests and live in a similar area should be in the same district to ensure that they are represented fairly.
Equality California believes that LGBT people and our allies are a community of interest that must be considered as the Citizens Redistricting Commission proceeds with its work.
The Database Outline shows the sources of data for the project and comments on methodology.
LGBT Communities of Interest Maps by City
The following maps cover targeted metropolitan areas of particular interest to the LGBT community during the redistricting process. The PDF maps illustrate LGBT Communities of Interest in greater detail, while the Google maps illustrate the LGBT Communities of Interest alongside the district lines proposed in the Citizens Redistricting Commission's first draft.
Please contact us with any questions about the data we used, the mapping project or redistricting in general.
Many thanks to our partners in this project!