Commentary: Attorney General Hector Balderas announced he joined a coalition of 10 attorneys general in submitting a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) opposing a proposal that would end the collection of data related to violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
“Collection of this data is critical to protecting our LGBTQ students from violence, and it’s shameful that President Trump’s administration would implement a change that perpetuates risk among one of our most vulnerable populations," Attorney General Balderas said. “I will continue to stand up to President Trump’s harmful policies that jeopardize the safety of New Mexico children and families.”
Last month, USDOJ announced its plans to revise the National Crime Victimization Survey to eliminate the collection of information about sexual orientation and gender identity from youth under age 18. The confidential, voluntary survey is an important source of national data on violence against LGBTQ youth and a critical tool to learn whether crimes are being reported and how the criminal justice system is responding to young LGBTQ victims.
According to a survey of youth in California public schools, those who identified as LQBTQ reported higher rates of abuse, verbal harassment and physical harassment compared to non-LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth also reported feeling less safe at school. USDOJ along with the U.S. Department of Education published a report finding that LGBTQ youth were almost twice as likely to be bullied and threatened or injured by a weapon at school; almost twice as likely to be in a physical fight; and were more likely to be offered, sold, or given illegal drugs at school.
Joining Attorney General Balderas in the letter were the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington.