Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Questions Left Off Next Census

By Erin Delmore

Three years to go until the next census, but the questions are due now. And, much to the dismay of LGBT groups nationwide, a chunk of previously drafted questions has suddenly been left out.

“So when you don’t count a group of people, they’re essentially invisible when it comes to any type of federal funding or government grants. And so when there’s zero people represented from the LGBT community in the census, people will look at that data and have no idea how many resources are needed to help the community,” said Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino.

Two sections of proposed questions were removed from a draft submitted to Congress by the Census Bureau. They focused on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“A lot of health organizations receive federal funding for STDs, HIV, AIDS, certain types of cancer that specifically are at higher rates in the LGBT community. If we aren’t recorded, then there’s no argument for federal agencies to provide more funding to address these needs,” Fuscarino said.

LGBT rights groups say it’s a low blow by the Trump administration and a harbinger of social policy to come.

“The LGBT community being counted on the census has been an important issue to our people for decades and we were moving in the right direction. There is absolutely no reason why we should not count the LGBT community. It’s a direct attack from the Trump administration to LGBT people and it’s disgusting,” Fuscarino said.

“Well it’s pretty frightening that already they’re trying to make believe LGBT people don’t exist, as if we’re not Americans. We had finally made a lot of progress to include ourselves in the country’s population. We are taxpayers, we’re hard working people. We deserve to be counted in every census. It’s ridiculous,” said Assemblyman Tim Eustace.

He thinks that the changes in the draft questions for the 2020 census are a reflection of the Trump administration.

Eustace is a co-sponsor of legislation to include voluntary questions on sexual orientation and gender identity in some surveys administered by the state.

“What I keep telling people is, we have to build our own wall to protect our own citizens and that’s what we’re attempting to do,” he said.

Eustace says it’s not just LGBT people who will be affected. He called it “the tip of the iceberg.”

“It gets to be all of the people that have been called PC over the years who wish to be identified as who they are. If a Native American wishes to be called a Native American, that should be their choice. And on and on down the line. And what they’re trying to do is dismantle what they called PC, which is actually respect for our citizenry. And it’s important that we pay attention as every day goes by, as they dismantle respect for the citizens of this country,” he said.