Election 2024

Out Sen. Tammy Baldwin says LGBTQ+ mental health data should be collected in federal surveys

Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI) Photo: Campaign photo

While speaking at the Politico Health Care Summit, out Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) expressed the need for the federal government to collect more data about LGBTQ+ people, especially when it comes to mental health.

Federally funded surveys, she said, rarely provide questions on LGBTQ+ identities.

“I think it’s so important people are counted. It’s hard to claim with great reliability how much greater risk gay and lesbian, bisexual, transgender children and adults are at risk for suicide. It is really important that we get that data because it helps us make our arguments for greater resources and greater services.” 

As The Hill reports, Baldwin also voiced plans to reintroduce the “LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion ACT,” which would require federal agencies that collect demographic data through surveys to include questions on LGBTQ+ identities. The House passed the bill last year, but it died in the Senate.

During her time at the health summit, Baldwin also emphasized the need for filibuster reform, though acknowledged it would be “difficult at this particular moment” to make it happen.

In April, Baldwin announced she is running for reelection to a third term in Congress.

In a statement, Baldwin said she’s “committed to making sure that working people, not just the big corporations and ultra-wealthy, have a fighter on their side. With so much at stake, from families struggling with rising costs to a ban on reproductive freedom, Wisconsinites need someone who can fight and win.”

She made history in 2012 when she became the first out gay senator in the nation and the first woman senator from Wisconsin. At the time, she declared, “I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference.”

Last year, Baldwin spearheaded the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA), which repealed the Defense of Marriage Act, federally recognizes interracial and same-sex marriages performed by states, and requires states to recognize marriages performed in other states.

“Thank you to the millions of same-sex and interracial couples who truly made this moment possible,” Baldwin tweeted after it passed. “By living as your true selves, you changed the hearts and minds of people around you.”

Editor’s note: This article mentions suicide. If you need to talk to someone now, call the Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860. It’s staffed by trans people, for trans people. The Trevor Project provides a safe, judgement-free place to talk for LGBTQ youth at 1-866-488-7386. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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