US Census To Leave Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Questions Off New Surveys

by Marta Holmes March 30, 2017, 1:27
US Census To Leave Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Questions Off New Surveys

But Democrats past year demanded the Census Bureau go further and explicitly ask about sexual orientation and identity, saying it was time policymakers got a better sense of increasingly complex family dynamics in America.

The Census Bureau is required by law to share a report of planned topics to Congress three years before the roll-out of a new census of every resident in the U.S. The report also includes subjects for questions in the American Community Survey, which is conducted every year with about 3 million households.

Members of the LGBTQ community and human rights groups are denouncing the Trump administration's decision to drop questions about sexual orientation from the 2020 USA census, saying it sets back the fight for their rights and is akin to denying them justice and equality.

Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement the removal of the proposed LGBT questions from the U.S. Census report demonstrates a systematic effort on behalf of the Trump administration to erase LGBT people.

'If the government doesn't know how many LGBTQ people live in a community, how can it do its job to ensure we're getting fair and adequate access to the rights, protections and services we need?'

A few hours later, though, the bureau released a statement, saying they had been added by mistake.

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"Last year, various federal agencies urged the Census Bureau to include sexual orientation and gender in their data as it was crucial to their role in enforcing the law". The Blade has a placed a request with the Census Bureau to seek clarification on whether the decision to omit the LGBT questions happened during the Obama or Trump administrations. "Whether it's through lobbying for legislation in Congress, pushing the administration to adopt new policies or serving on the U.S. Census Bureau's National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations". That may be why a question about "sexual orientation and gender identity" has mysteriously disappeared from 2020's proposed list.

U.S. Postal Service mail carrier Thomas Russell holds a census form while working his route in 2010. "By excluding LGBT-specific data collection in the 2020 Census, the Trump Administration shows it does not even want to have the information needed to act in the best interest of countless American families".

Not being a part of the Census means that, once again, LGBTQ Americans will be contributing to the tax base of a government that systematically overlooks them.

Many gay activists were upset about the Census Bureau's refusal to track people's sexuality, calling the decision a way to "erase LGBTQ people". Gates took census data along with his research to produce The Gay and Lesbian Atlas over a decade ago, and that work helped provide actual information for the first time about things like the number of LGBTQ individuals in the military, or the fact that same-sex couples live in nearly every county in the United States (imagine that!).

That's an infuriating blow to be sure, and also not entirely all that surprising given the anti-LGBT slant of the current administration (the Vice President, after all, has always been a proponent of so-called religious freedom laws, according to The Advocate, which put the LGBTQ community at risk of legal discrimination).

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