State lawmakers look to bolster LGBTQ data collection

State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal.
State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal.
Donna Aceto

A bill that passed both houses of the New York State Legislature would include gender identity and sexual orientation information in demographic-related data collection by state commissions, boards, and other governmental departments and branches.

The legislation, led in the upper house by out gay State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal of Manhattan and in the lower house by Assemblymember Harry Bronson of Rochester, calls for data to be collected separately on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in an effort to reflect the unique experiences of New Yorkers within the LGBTQ community. 

“Given the diversity of the population, separating data for these areas of the population and making the data publicly accessible are critical for enhancing our state’s understanding of the needs and experiences of these communities,” the bill stated.

The Assembly approved the bill in May and the Senate passed it on June 1. A similar bill was vetoed by the governor last year due to cost concerns, said Hoylman-Sigal, who warned that not collecting data on the LGBTQ community could “trump” the achievements made by the state.

Lawmakers believe the law would pinpoint areas of need.

“Demographic data informs policy decisions and also helps direct resources required to implement and execute these types of policies,” Hoylman-Sigal noted in an interview with Gay City News. “It’s imperative that government data collection instruments include metrics on sexual orientation and gender identity. Otherwise, there’s potential harm if we don’t understand the needs of our community.”

Governor Kathy Hochul’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is unclear whether the governor intends to sign the bill.

“This is particularly important as it pertains to members of our community, members of the LGBTQ community, who are lower income and vulnerable to various societal harms,” Hoylman-Sigal said. “The failure [to collect this data] can have dire consequences.”