Not Today, 45: The Census

With natural and man-made disaster at our doorsteps, it’s difficult to keep abreast of all the large and small ways that 45 and his Administration are wearing away LGBTQ people’s rights. The Census might seem obscure, but how it operates has important consequences.

Put simply, if we aren’t counted, we don’t count – the Census drives federal funding as well as representation in Congress. Advocates and service providers also use information from the Census and American Community Survey to determine how to best allocate resources.

The Census Bureau is required to tell Congress what questions it is going to ask on the Census and American Community Survey (aka long-form Census). The Bureau figures out what questions it will ask by compiling what federal agencies need under the law. When the Bureau went through that process last year, four agencies said they needed sexual orientation and gender identity data.

This year, one of those agencies – the Department of Justice – changed its mind, and the Census Bureau went along with their decision despite the fact that the other three agencies’ needs hadn’t changed. In their final report filed to Congress, they didn’t include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Thanks to advocates like you, the omission received a lot of attention. In response, the Census Bureau claimed that the initial inclusion of the gender and sexual identity questions was an “error.”

Today, we have proof that their actions weren’t a mistake. A reporter from NPR received a draft of the report to Congress. The draft is almost identical to the one that the Census Bureau submitted to Congress, with the exception of – a whole section on including sexual orientation and gender identity.

We know this omission and “errors” at the Census Bureau may feel unimportant in the face of DACA repeal, Houston, Miami, and Charlottesville. But if you can, please take five minutes to let your Representatives know that you support LGBTQ data collection.

Click here to find your Rep, and tell them to support the Panetta/Schiff amendment to the budget that would mandate testing of sexual orientation and gender identity questions for the American Community Survey and Census.

For more on the advocacy, click here. For a video of our Policy Director questioning then Census Director Thompson, click here. To support this work, click here.

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