WASHINGTON-DC: On Tuesday, the Census Bureau announced that it is removing the planned sexual orientation question from a national survey.
"Who and how the Census counts has enormous consequences for resource distribution, representation and LGBTQ protections," said Rea Carey, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director. "We shouldn't have to keep telling this administration that we count. In case we weren't clear: we count. Our experiences matter. Our needs matter, so count us."
The National LGBTQ Task Force has worked on "Queering the Census" for nearly thirty years. In 1990, the organization ran a public awareness and advocacy campaign to urge people in same-sex couples to check the "unmarried partner" box. The organization has continued its advocacy ever since; in the last year, the Task Force worked with Center for American Progress to advocate for inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity questions in the Census and American Community Survey. The organization sounded the alarm earlier this year when the Census Bureau changed course and decided not to include sexual orientation and gender identity in these surveys.
This latest move came to the attention of the National LGBTQ Task Force on Tuesday at a National Advisory Committee's Integrated Communications and Partnership working group meeting via Census staff who were told by the Decennial Census Directorate to remove the sexual orientation question from the Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Survey ( CBAMS ). The Census will be finalizing the survey tomorrow, Thursday, September 28.
"This survey helps the Census Bureau understand how best to reach communities that are historically undercounted. The Census drives federal funding and the allocation of seats in Congress. Not counting LGBTQ people means less money for social programs and less democratic representation, and that's just not fair," said Meghan Maury, Policy Director, National LGBTQ Task Force. "The LGBTQ community, across the country, demands to be counted!"
The purpose of the CBAMS is "to gauge public knowledge, attitudes and behavior regarding the decennial censuses, as well as inform the strategic direction of the Census Bureau's 2020 Census Integrated Partnership and Communications Program." The proposed survey included a sexual orientation question.
More on the National LGBTQ Task Force's Census Advocacy: www.thetaskforce.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/LGBTQ-Census-Advocacy.pdf