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A draft of the 2020 U.S. Census has just been released, that has sparked controversies among the LGBTQ community after proposed questions on sexual orientation and gender identity were removed. The U.S. Census Bureau has an obligation to issue a list of categories it plans to track three years before the survey is done.
The Bureau released a list on Tuesday showing the categories which ranged from race and gender to the type of plumbing in homes and the length of a person’s commute to their workplace. Every category has a table that shows the federal agencies that rely on the data to make informed decisions about, health, enforcing the law and equal employment opportunities.
This will be the first time that the U.S. Census will exclude LGTBQ Americans. This will make it very challenging for federal agencies and researchers to track the needs of the community. The American Community Survey will also exclude LGBTQ categories.
The advocacy groups have protested for years - they request that questions on sexual orientation and gender identity be included in the Census. The groups were delighted when the 2020 Census draft was unveiled. However, their hopes were crushed after the proposed addition suddenly disappeared, and a statement was issued by the Census bureau calling the LGBTQ inclusion an error.
The National LGBTQ Task Force responded by publishing both versions of the 2020 Census plan on its website, it showed the removed segment in the subjects planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey section. The Criminal and Economic Justice Project Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force, Meghan Maury, released a statement questioning the government for failing to count the LGBTQ community. Maury emphasized that the government will not be able to do a good job in ensuring fair and adequate access to rights of the community.
Maury also said that her organization was planning to ask Congress for an omission hearing, demanding answers as to why the category was excluded.
The move comes just over a week after Trump’s administration eliminated questions about LGBTQ senior citizens from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants. The questions helped determine funding for groups that work with older LGBTQ Americans. There has been growing pressure for the Bureau to tally LGBTQ Americans in the Census. In 2016, a group of nearly 80 members of Congress asked that the American Community Survey and the Census should include questions on gender identity and sexual orientation.