Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday signed an executive order directing executive state departments to begin collecting voluntary self-identification information pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity, an advance long-sought by LGBTQ+ advocates that will provide the state with data to improve the provisions of service to a traditionally underserved population.
The effect of the order will be to enhance the capacity and ability of state agencies to address health disparities and identify and remove barriers to effective care for non-conforming and traditionally undeserved individuals, as well as enhance services and outreach to those groups of people.
“If we want to solve a problem, we first need information about what’s causing it,” said Lujan Grisham. “If we are to address inequities that LGBTQ+ New Mexicans experience in their interactions with state government, we must first have the information about where those breakdowns are occurring. This voluntary mechanism for demographic analysis is a tool the state of New Mexico can and will use to improve its service to traditionally underserved New Mexicans. I’m proud to have the chance to initiate that process.”
“Equality New Mexico applauds and thanks Governor Lujan Grisham for this Executive Order, which makes New Mexico a national leader on the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity data collection,” said Executive Director Marshall Martinez of Equality New Mexico. “LGBTQ people have always known that we face inequities in health, economic stability and education. This will finally give the state of New Mexico the data we need so that we can bridge these gaps. This is a first crucial step toward addressing some of the life or death issues for queer and trans people.”
“Including the demographic information for the LGBTQ+ community on all state forms demonstrates an acknowledgment of our community,” said Sen. Carrie Hamblen, who sponsored an analogous piece of legislation in the spring 60-day legislative session that successfully advanced through the Senate. “I’m grateful this executive order will put into place the representation that is overdue and to start compiling necessary data that will be used to determine resources and services that are desperately needed and deserved.”
“I’m honored to have worked on this policy with Equality New Mexico and Senator Hamblen this last session,” said Rep. Brittney Barreras. “By finally collecting this data we will have the tools to bridge gaps in services for our LGBTQ siblings across the state.”
“I am grateful to the governor for her commitment to signing this order into effect and I am glad we continue to make progress as a state in broadening inclusivity and how we serve underserved communities,” said Sen. Leo Jaramillo.
Under the order, information that is voluntarily provided about sexual orientation and gender identity may only be used for demographic analysis, coordination of care, quality improvement of government services, conducting research and guiding policy and funding decisions. Protections about individual identification are likewise written into the order, as well.