LOS ANGELES — This week, Los Angeles County, California became the first jurisdiction to ensure medical examiners and coroners will be trained to investigate violent deaths in the LGBTQ community — including suicide, hate crimes, and homicide — and to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data.
The Trevor Project said in a statement that it is not mandatory in most of the country to record those details, nor is the a uniform process. The organization, a suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth, hopes more governments will follow suit.
“At The Trevor Project, 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 & Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “We are grateful to Los Angeles County for taking action to ensure that LA County medical examiners and coroners will have the training and resources they need to accurately and respectfully account for a deceased individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Only through routine, systematic, evidence-based data collection can we learn the lessons we need in order to save LGBTQ lives.”
“Across the country, there are dedicated public servants who want to ensure that LGBTQ people’s data is accurately collected, and who are doing their best despite outdated or overburdened infrastructure,” said Casey Pick, Esq., senior fellow for Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “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.”