It’s that time again: every ten years the government tries to tally us up in a census so they can have an accurate idea of the make up of this country. The census helps to shape and define policy supporting different demographics, and it’s very difficult to do that when certain demographics aren’t included. That may be why a question about “sexual orientation and gender identity” has mysteriously disappeared from 2020's proposed list.
“The Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey report released today inadvertently listed sexual orientation and gender identity as a proposed topic in the appendix,” the statement says. “The report has been corrected.”
OUT shared a statement from the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Criminal and Economic Justice Project Director, Meghan Maury, demanding that the Trump administration include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on the census:
Today, the Trump Administration has taken yet another step to deny LGBTQ people freedom, justice, and equity, by choosing to exclude us from the 2020 Census and American Community Survey. LGBTQ people are not counted on the Census—no data is collected on sexual orientation or gender identity. Information from these surveys helps the government to enforce federal laws like the Violence Against Women Act and the Fair Housing Act and to determine how to allocate resources like housing supports and food stamps. 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?
According to the Washington Blade, the census has in fact, never included questions about sexual orientation or gender identity, though federal agencies have long been trying to get such questions included to help with shaping policies. The hasty change makes it appear that there had been some intention of following through on that for 2020.
Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement, “By erasing LGBTQ Americans from the 2020 U.S. Census, the Trump administration is adding a disgusting entry to a long list of tactics they’ve adopted to legally deny services and legitimacy to hard-working LGBTQ Americans. The Trump administration is trying hard to erase the LGBTQ community from the fabric of America, but visibility has always been one of the LGBTQ community’s greatest strengths.”