Any doubt that Donald Trump is an enemy of the LGBTQ community was erased Tuesday, when his administration gave Congress a draft of subjects to be included in the 2020 census—subjects that did not include questions related to “sexual orientation and gender identity.” An initial proposal for the decennial survey was said to include questions related to both for the first time in its history. So what happened, and what’s at stake?
The omission was swiftly denounced by pro-LGBTQ activists and federal lawmakers who insist that identifying these people is a crucial step in developing public policies that serve them directly.
“Information from these surveys helps the government to enforce federal laws like the Violence Against Women Act and the Fair Housing Act and to determine how to allocate resources like housing supports and food stamps,” Meghan Maury, criminal and economic justice project director at the National LGBTQ Task Force, said in a statement. “If the government doesn’t know how many LGBTQ people live in a community, how can it do its job to ensure we’re getting fair and adequate access to the rights, protections and services we need?” she added.
The Human Rights Campaign took to Twitter to voice its outrage over the erasure and started a #CantEraseUs hashtag. “LGBT people deserve to be heard and given a voice just like everyone else. We are equal and Trump #CantEraseUs,” the organization wrote. Chelsea Clinton also chimed in, writing, “This is outrageous. No one should be invisible in America.”
The Trump Administration is erasing “sexual orientation” & “gender identity” from the 2020 census – but they #CantEraseUs ¼— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) March 29, 2017
According to a report from the Washington Times, the original subjects list “inadvertently listed” the criteria, which were removed because there isnt’ a “federal need” for that specific data.
This is outrageous. No one should be invisible in America https://t.co/IOaCit7dg2— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) March 29, 2017
As of 2013, same sex spouses have been counted in the census, but with antigay marriage ideologues like Mike Pence and Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch in the federal government’s driver’s seat, it might not be long before they’re also removed.