California to launch program tracking violent deaths in LGBTQ+ community

California to launch program tracking violent deaths in LGBTQ+ community

California is set to become the first U.S. state to track violent deaths of people in the LGBTQ+ community.

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomAppeals court blocks California vaccine mandate for prison workers Apple, Nordstrom stores hit in latest smash-and-grab robberies Ted Cruz ribs Newsom over vacation in Mexico: 'Cancun is much nicer than Cabo' MORE (D) signed into law on Sept. 16 a bill instituting a three-year program in up to six counties that will collect and analyze data surrounding “gender identity and sexual orientation” in violent death cases, including homicides and suicides.

A recent study found that LGBTQ+ people are close to four times more likely to be victims of violent crime. Advocacy groups and members of the LGBTQ+ community are applauding the effort seen as a step toward addressing the inordinate amount of violence the community faces.

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“We know that LGBTQ people are more often the victims of violent crimes. Within the LGBTQ community, because of lack of acceptance, discrimination and harassment, we see higher rates of suicidal ideation,” Samuel Garrett-Pate, communications director for Equality California, told The Guardian. “We only know how best to address these important issues when we have the data.”

The program will compel the counties to collect this data, and coroners and medical examiners will be required to submit annual reports on the data and their findings to both the state department of public health and county board of supervisors. 

“By training coroners and medical examiners how to gather mortality data with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity,” the bill states, “researchers and policymakers can begin to learn who the most vulnerable in the LGBTQ community are, and allocate resources that will reduce the number of preventable deaths.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2021 is set to be the deadliest for transgender and gender-nonconforming people in the United States.

On Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign identified Briana Hamilton, a Black 25-year-old transgender woman, as the 37th transgender and gender nonconforming person to be killed this year.