The importance of having gay parents in congress was on display again this week, when New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) announced he will reintroduce a bill aimed at improving sexual orientation and gender identity data collection in violent crimes and suicides.
Rep. Maloney, one of the few gay dads in U.S. politics, initially introduced the “LGBTQ Essential Data Act” in 2019.
Although didn’t pass under the Trump Administration, Maloney said the bill is needed now more than ever “in response to the epidemic of violence against transgender Americans, particularly transgender women of color,” which he said is only getting worse, according to NBC.
If Maloney’s bill passes into law, it would require U.S. law enforcement to include information about sexual orientation and gender identity in the National Violent Death Reporting System, which documents violent deaths and suicides and states why they occurred, and is run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fatal violence against transgender individuals is at a record high this year, according to data from LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations, NBC reports.
As the Trevor Project reports, suicide is the second leading cause of death among all people aged 10-24, but LGBTQ+ youth contemplate suicide at around three times the rate of their heterosexual counterparts.
On the latest episode of Gays With Kids the podcast, GWK executive editor David Dodge said Rep. Maloney’s bill shows the importance of having not just LGBTQ+ representatives, but gay parents, as lawmakers.
“I applaud Maloney for doing this,” David said. “This is why I think it’s so important to have not just LGBTQ+ people in power around the country… and I think you don’t have to be a parent to care about trans youth, but I also think it helps if you are [a parent,] and that you have some sort of experience especially within our community. Maloney is a father to three kids with his partner Randy Florke. So it’s great that we have that representation, and I’m glad he’s pushing for it. We need more gay dads [in politics.]”
Listen to the full episode of GWK the podcast here: “A Gay Dad is Running for Senate in Missouri”