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Bill could widen data collection on LGBTQ community

The Gay and Lesbian Center of Bakersfield is seen July 13, 2017. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Efforts to widen data collection on the LGBTQ community is making it's way through the legislature.

Assembly Bill 677 will require California to focus on collecting information on sexual orientation and gender identity in both the workplace and in schools.

This bill will help calculate education and employment discrimination that the LGBTQ community experiences in the state of California.

It will give the state a clear understanding of how many children and adults identify themselves as LGBTQ.

If the bill is passed, it will prohibit high schools and middle schools from taking away a question dealing with sexual orientation on the California Healthy Kids Survey. This survey is a questionnaire that is given to public schools to collect and understand any problems that students might be facing, but it is optional.

Jan Hefner, executive director at the Gay and Lesbian Center of Bakersfield, said the bill is a great idea and that having these numbers will be an important asset to the LGBTQ community.

"It will be a big step forward for our community," she said. "Collecting this kind of data in a safe and confidential nonidentified environment and using it to inform local decisions is a really great thing."

Hefner said that they estimate that there is about 34,000 LGBTQ people in Kern County.

If the bill passe, the center will be able to fully identify who is LGBTQ.

The bill is headed to the Senate Rules Committee and then will be discussed by the Senate Committee on Education.

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