The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Commerce for communications related to the Trump Administration’s exclusion of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” recommendations regarding data collection in the American Community Survey. Materials produced from this request will help determine how this shameful decision was made.
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. Their intent is clear: by denying we exist, the Trump Administration hopes to deny us equality. It won’t work. Today, we’re resolved to be louder and fight even harder, because Donald Trump and Mike Pence #CantEraseUs.”
The Census Bureau issued a statement correcting an earlier version of a report to Congress in which they stated, “inadvertently listed sexual orientation and gender identity as a proposed topic in the appendix.” The correction suggests that the draft report included LGBTQ data collection recommendations or plans. Many federal agencies, including the Census Bureau, have been collecting and/or planning to collect similar data.
This is the Trump Administration’s latest move in a larger campaign to erase LGBTQ people from federal surveys and disrupt programs that provide direct assistance to the LGBTQ community. Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services removed a question about sexual orientation from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants. Earlier this month, the Department of Housing and Urban Development withdrew two notices impacting data collection and implementation guidelines for a homelessness prevention initiative targeting LGBTQ youth.