Sacramento–California Governor Jerry Brown late yesterday signed a bill that requires that certain state employment and education agencies collect demographic data about LGBTQ people whenever they collect data about other demographic groups. Assembly Bill 677, authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California, will help ensure that state programs meet the needs of the LGBTQ community.
“I want to thank Governor Brown for understanding the obstacles facing LGBT communities and for helping to eliminate educational and employment disparities,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “Good information will move us closer to full equality.”
Assembly Bill 677 builds on data collection best practices by requiring education and employment-related government agencies to collect voluntarily provided sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data when collecting other demographic data. Aggregated SOGI data collected pursuant to this bill will be reported to the Legislature and made publicly available.
“This bill will help give us a better picture of California’s LGBTQ community, where we work and learn and what our needs are,” said Rick Zbur, Equality California executive director. “LGBTQ people are especially vulnerable in the workplace and in the classroom, and this bill will help us to continue to address the many disparities our community suffers compared to the general public.”
The LGBTQ community faces disproportionately high rates of poverty, suicide, homelessness, isolation, substance abuse, and violence, and low rates of health insurance. These issues are more prevalent for youth and seniors, communities of color, and transgender and undocumented people.
In 2015 the Legislature passed and the Governor signed AB 959, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Disparities Reduction Act, also authored by Asm. Chiu. This law requires state agencies that provide health and human services to collect voluntarily provided information about SOGI in the regular course of collecting other types of demographic data.
An existing but limited pool of SOGI-related data has identified significant disparities within the LGBTQ community compared to the general public, including educational attainment and workplace discrimination.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org