Los Angeles jurisdiction becomes first to track LGBTQ deaths
The Los Angeles jurisdiction will the first in the US to keep track of all violent deaths involving LGBTQ victims, including suicides, possible hate crimes, and homicides.
This motion was pushed by the LA County Supervisors to require the LA Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity of victims of violent crimes.
From the procedures and practices that are generated, LGBTQ activists hope that this will help them track the root causes of suicide or anti-LGBTQ hate crimes.
Los Angeles jurisdiction: First in the US
The motion makes the LA jurisdiction the first county in the US to collect data that will “focus on LGBTQ suicide rates, violent deaths, and hate crime incidents.”
Aside from being included in annual reports, the data will also promote institute training for employees on how to best collect data on how to be culturally sensitive in dealing with LGBTQ victims.
“The work of the Medical Examiner and Coroner’s [Office] is vital, as it often is used to gather evidence and information that can be used in a criminal proceeding,” the motion of Barger and Kuehl reads.
“However, this work can also highlight disparities in mortality rates, and provide valuable insight that can be used to guide policies, resources, and law enforcement efforts to protect at-risk communities,” it added.
“By tracking this data, it will allow us to better understand these disparities and develop policies that seek to address them at the County level,” it said.
How collecting data helps the LGBTQ community
The Trevor Project, which helps LGBTQ youth, said collecting the data would shed light on the issue of what causes or contributes suicideal ideation with the LGBTQ community
“We know that too many LGBTQ people die by suicide every year, but because of gaps in the data collection process, we don’t actually know how many, and that lack of information limits our ability to prevent future suicides,” said Sam Brinton, head of advocacy and government affairs for The Trevor Project, in a statement.
Brinton added: “Only through routine, systematic, evidence-based data collection can we learn the lessons we need in order to save LGBTQ lives.”
Casey Pick, senior fellow for advocacy and government affairs for The Trevor Project, told PinkNews: “Legislative action like this motion by Los Angeles County provides the systemic support medical examiners and other death investigators need to make collecting data about sexual orientation or gender identity a routine and valued part of their vital work.”
Los Angeles jurisdiction to help LGBTQ research
Presently, it’s not mandatory for medical examiners or coroners to track this type of data or include it in death records.
The motion was sponsored by Kathryn Barger (a Republican) and Sheila Kuehl (a Democrat), both members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Research indicates that LGBTQ individuals suffer from higher rates of suicidal ideations as compared to their straight counterparts.
What’s more, a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016 discovered that LGBTQ youth consider suicide nearly three times as compared to their straight counterparts.
It’s also estimated that 1.8 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13 and 24 in the US consider suicide each year.
Moreover, LGBTQ rights campaigners believe that LGBTQ people face higher murder rates.