Census suggests counting LGBT, then "corrects" and deletes

U.S. Postal Service mail carrier Thomas Russell holds a census form while working his route in 2010

According to Out, the move would have been in line with the recommendations made by various federal agencies a year ago, when they called on the Census Bureau to formally collect data on LGBTQ Americans, but any optimism over progress and inclusion was quickly dashed, when the agency released an updated version, and claimed that it had "inadvertently" included sexual orientation and gender identity in the list when it wasn't supposed to be.

The U.S. Census issued a notice shortly afterward indicating the report was corrected because the initial appendix "inadvertently" included LGBT categories.

Gay rights groups said not including the sexual orientation and gender identity subject in the Census and the American Community Survey would deny some government services to LGBTQ Americans.

U.S. Census Bureau Director John Thompson (center) along with Lloyd Potter (right), UTSA professor and appointed state demographer, appear at the Applied Demography Conference, which happens every two years in San Antonio on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. And by "corrected" they really mean "edited so that we don't have to pay attention to anyone not straight or cis". Reliable data about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are hard to come by, and advocates say policymakers need that information to make informed decisions.

"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", Maury said in the statement. The subjects represent the necessary balance between the need for data and the Census Bureau's commitment to reduce the time it takes to complete the form. In April 2016, a bipartisan group of almost 80 members of Congress asked that the census and the American Community Survey add questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. Maury says that could give the bureau some leeway to start asking questions about sexual orientation and gender identity without having to wait until the 2030 Census.

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With efforts to streamline the decennial U.S. Census, the addition of LGBT questions would have been unlikely. The Census Bureau also has not responded to NPR's requests for comment about the draft order.

The National LGBT Task Force shared similar sentiments to Garden State Equality regarding the decision to exclude questions related to gender identity or sexual orientation. Census data is ultimately used by lawmakers and the government to inform how existing laws are enforced and how new policies are developed and money is allocated to meet the demographic needs of USA citizens.

WANG: Kenneth Prewitt is a former director of the Census Bureau who served under the Clinton administration. Gates took census data along with his research to produce The Gay and Lesbian Atlas over a decade ago, and that work helped provide actual information for the first time about things like the number of LGBTQ individuals in the military, or the fact that same-sex couples live in nearly every county in the United States (imagine that!).

HRC President Chad Griffin said, "The Trump Administration has launched a deliberate campaign to erase LGBTQ people from federal data used to inform budgets and policies across the government".

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