On Tuesday the Census Bureau announced that questions on sexual orientation and gender identity will not be included in the 2020 census.
In the original draft for the decennial survey questions allowing LGBTQ people to identify themselves were included – for the first. time. ever. That has now been redacted from the survey. The LGBTQ Task Force noticed this when Congress received the most recent (and finalized) report of the survey.
It has been noted by several sources that no U.S. census or American Community Survey (a yearly effort that tracks population demographics) has ever had questions around sexual orientation or gender identity. Though in 1990 same-sex unmarried partners were tallied by the census, there have never been individual questions allowing someone to self-identify their sexual or gender orientation. When our country does not recognize our multitude of identities, this provides a dangerous narrative that the “norm” is cisgender and heterosexual further “othering” LGBTQ people which puts our lives at risk.
According to a statement given to The Blade, The Census Bureau said that the report which included the proposed questions on identity was released “inadvertently” and it had to be corrected before being sent to Congress.
I have been talking about the importance of data collection and LGBTQ folks for years. We just want to be counted. https://t.co/eMB6DBRGmP
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) March 29, 2017
This exclusion from the census has civil rights groups up in arms. The bureau is legally required to submit their questions by March 31, 2018 – so there is a glimmer of hope that if we rally behind this inclusion there could be a change. Tweet at @uscensusbureau using the hashtag #CantEraseUs to make your voice heard! You can also contact them directly by phone, email or snail mail here.
“Our goal is a complete and accurate census,” bureau Director John H. Thompson said in a statement Tuesday. However, how can a census be deemed accurate when it erases LGBTQ people from existing within the data?
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) March 29, 2017