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

Earlier, the Department of Health and Human Services cut survey questions about sexual orientation and gender identity from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, after questions pertaining to the LGBTQ community were added in 2014.

U.S. Census Bureau Director John Thompson (center) along with Lloyd.

Initially the draft proposal for the 2020 census had included a question about sexual orientation and gender identity, but in the finalized report delivered to Congress this week, the questions had been removed. But the celebration was short-lived: The U.S. Census on the same day announced those categories were included in error.

The inclusion of LGBT categories in the report may indicate those categories were initially planned for the more detailed annual American Community Survey, then taken away.

Gay, lesbian, and transgender rights advocates have for years pushed for sexual orientation and gender identity to become part of the census.

The Census Bureau's 2020 survey will not ask about respondents' sexual orientation or gender identity, dashing LGBT rights groups' hopes that the new questions would be added and raising concerns that the Trump administration may have squelched the proposal.

On Tuesday, the LGBTQ Task Force, where Maury is the criminal and economic justice project director, decried the last-minute census change, saying, "We've been ERASED!"

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The census will include the "relationship to householder" query on the 2020 form.

The Census collects information on the demographics of America. It defined sexual orientation to include "sexual identity, sexual attraction and sexual behavior", while gender identity encompassed "transgender identity, gender expression (i.e., masculinity vs. femininity), and the concordance between sex assigned at birth and current sex".

The U.S. Census, which is held every 10 years, has never explicitly collected data on LGBTQ citizens: just same-sex households in the country.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was among those expressing discontent with the redaction of LGBT data from the report, calling it a "malicious move" in a statement and the latest in a series of Trump administration actions against LGBT people. According to Out, the move would have been in line with the recommendations made by various federal agencies a year ago, when they called on the Census Bureau to formally collect data on LGBTQ Americans, but any optimism over progress and inclusion was quickly dashed, when the agency released an updated version, and claimed that it had "inadvertently" included sexual orientation and gender identity in the list when it wasn't supposed to be. The survey is meant to evaluate the effectiveness of programs funded by the Older Americans Act, such as services for home-delivered meals, homemaker services and the National Family Caregiver Support Program.

According to the Washington Blade, the Census Bureau had said the report with the proposed addition was released "inadvertently" and had been corrected before being sent off.

President Donald Trump is back to breaking his promises to the queer community.


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