Kathryn Barger, one of LA County’s supervisors, sponsored the motion that created this policy. Image via LA Times. Thanks to two supervisors, Los Angeles County made history by being the first jurisdiction to require coroners and medical examiners to investigate all violent LGBT deaths, including homicides, bias-related crimes, and suicides, according to Metro Weekly .
Kathryn Barger and Sheila Kuehl, LA County’s supervisors are now requiring the county’s Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office to develop a plan about collecting data on the sexuality and gender identity of victims of violence-related crimes, implement training for employees on how to effectively collect such data, and teach cultural sensitivity when dealing with LGBT victims.
The desired result of this new policy is to reduce the amount of LGBT deaths by using the above-mentioned data in government, medical, or professional policies so that people can target the root causes of suicide or anti-LGBT deaths. Activists believe that this will save lives and I am inclined to agree with them, as if people can target the root cause of suicide, they can help LGBT people with suicidal ideations to realize that suicide is never the answer. Additionally, this may help people realize the harm that they are inflicting on LGBT people and they may potentially change their way of thinking about people who are different from them.
LGBT people make up a disproportionate amount of suicide deaths as, according to The Trevor Project , gay men, lesbians, and bisexual people are almost five times more likely to take their own life, and 40% of transgender individuals have attempted suicide. These statistics are surely terrifying as nobody should feel so helpless that they have the need to take their own life but unfortunately, even though gay rights have made great strides in the US, many LGBT people are still discriminated against and ruthlessly harassed. Hopefully, this new policy will decrease suicide statistics, even if it’s confined to LA County.