NEW YORK — LGBTQ Americans will not be counted in the 2020 U.S. Census.
A draft of the 2020 Census survey was released with proposed questions on sexual orientation and gender identity. But advocacy groups are outraged after the questions were quickly removed the same day.
“To not count LGBT people in America is really un-American, it goes against all of our values,” said David Kilmnick, Chief Executive Officer of the LGBT Network.
Kilmnick, along with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-12TH District, NY) held a news conference Friday, slamming the move.
“We rely on the Census numbers to know where the needs are. If you’re not counted and the data’s not there then we don’t know where the needs are, where the services are. The LGBT community has never been counted in the Census and it is about time it is counted and it was in the planning stages to be counted and it’s been removed. I’m also asking for a hearing from the government reform and oversight committee and I’m asking for information on how this decision was made. If we don’t count people, we don’t know to direct services to them,” said Maloney.
Maloney is sending a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The Commerce Dept. oversees the U.S. Census Burearu.
“The Census is often called a picture of America and if you're not counted, then you're not a part of that picture. This administration, they are now sending a clear message to LGBT Americans to go back into the closet. Our letter is asking for all documentation on how this decision was made, who decided to remove it, why did they remove it, when did it happen. We were told the LGBT community would appropriately be counted for the first time, then the questions just disappeared,” said Maloney.
The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United states, requesting such information as age, race, relationship to others in the home, even the length of your commute to work.
“If the government does not know how many LGBT people live in a community, it cannot and does not do its job to ensure that the LGBT community is getting fair and adequate access to the rights and protection and services that our community needs and deserves,” said Kilmnick.
The survey has been conducted every ten years since 1790. Earlier this week, the hope of LGBTQ groups were raised, then quickly dashed. The Census Bureau is required to send list of categories it plans to survey three years before the Census is conducted. The Bureau did just that this Wednesday. They sent a report to Congress the list for 2020. The list initially included for the first time - sexual orientation and gender identity.
However, they quickly sent out a correction and the revised draft, once again, excluded the categories. The move infuriated advocates, who have long fought to be counted in the Census. The logic is with more focused questions, lawmakers can ensure appropriate legislation to improve the lives of LGBTQ citizens.
“These questions were already planned to be on the Census and would've been first time, LGBT Americans were counted in our country. If LGBT people are not counted in the Census, there will be no data at all on sex or gender identity. Such information is critical as it helps the government to enforce federal laws like the Violence Against Women Act and the Fair Housing Act as well as to determine how to allocate resources like housing support, food stamps, domestic violence programs and other critical programs of the health and safety of the LGBT community in our country,” said Kilmnick.
The Census Bureau data directly affects how more than $400 billion per year in federal and state funds is doled out. LGBTQ groups took to social media, saying they’re entitled to those resources.
Outrage growing, advocates are putting the blame squarely on President Trump. Last week, the Trump administration quietly deleted questions on sexual orientation from two other government surveys.
“The Trump administration has taken yet another step in its assault on LGBT families by choosing to exclude the community from the upcoming Census in 2020. It’s a tremendous setback if 2030 is the next time that our community can be counted,” said Kilmnick.
For the U.S. Census Bureau’s response, visit https://www.census.gov/newsroom/blogs/director/2017/03/planned_subjects_2020.html