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NM Advances Sexual-Orientation and Gender-Identity Data Collection

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021   

SANTA FE, N.M. -- Bridging gaps in services for LGBTQ New Mexicans is the goal of an executive order signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Monday.

The order directs departments at the state level to begin collecting data about sexual orientation and gender identity on forms and applications when other demographic data is collected.

The group Equality New Mexico championed the executive order after the state Legislature failed to act on similar legislation.

Marshall Martinez, executive director of the group, said the Governor's order is the first step toward creating a long-overdue database.

"What LGBTQ New Mexicans are experiencing when it comes to barriers, inequities or gaps in services around health care, education or economic stability," Martinez outlined.

Martinez pointed out the move will make New Mexico a national leader in addressing some of the life-or-death issues faced by gay and trans Americans.

Martinez noted the New Mexico Department of Health has been asking questions about sexual orientation and gender identity for decades, in the context of sexually transmitted disease or AIDS prevention and treatment.

He emphasized, like other information provided to the state, LGBTQ self-identification information will be voluntary.

"Just as some people choose not to identify their race, or their age or their annual income, they also don't have to identify their sexual orientation or gender identity," Martinez explained.

Martinez hopes successful use of the demographic-analysis tool in New Mexico will encourage other states to follow suit and create better policies for all LGBTQ Americans.

Disclosure: Equality New Mexico contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Human Rights/Racial Justice, LGBTQIA Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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