LGBTQ-related questions removed from federal surveys under Trump’s leadership
Different federal agencies had started asking about sexuality on certain surveys back in 2014 with the hope of finding out how federal programs impact sexual minority communities. But copies of 2017 surveys have been scrubbed of such questions, according to the Associated Press, and advocates think Trump and his conservative, Evangelical Christian cadre are to blame.
This news marks the third such federal survey to pull LGBTQ-related questions, those surveys include: the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living, and a survey from by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on an LGBTQ homelessness project.
Combined with the withdrawal of another planned survey evaluating the effectiveness of a homelessness project for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, the moves have alarmed watchdogs who worry they may point to a manipulation of government data collection to serve the ideology of a government they view as hostile to their causes.
“In an age when LGBT rights are such a part of the national discussion, the Trump administration is choosing to not only ignore us but erase us from the discussion,” said Laura Durso, vice president of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, a nonprofit liberal advocacy group. She worried officials might be rolling back such data collection elsewhere.
AP asked the Health and Human Services department about changes to the survey and spokeswoman Kelly Mack said the questions were only included as part of a pilot program and the qquestions weren’t yielding enough data so they’ve since stopped including them.
But according to Kathy Greenlee, the HHS’ assistant secretary for aging under President Barack Obama, the removal of these questions is viewed “as a policy change, not the end of a pilot.” Greenlee helped spearhead the addition of LGBTQ questions in the surveys under Obama and said while questions are usually approved for three years at a time there was no reason to suspend the program.
Here in Virginia, Roland Winston, an advocate for aging LGBTQ populations, is worried about the loss of data as well. He called pulling the questions another assault on minority groups.
“As long as Trump holds office, his band of mostly old white men (GBT seniors excluded) will make moves to ignore and marginalize,” he said, pointing to Trump allies like Tony Perkins, Franklin Graham and other “‘so called’ Christian” evangelicals who have fought LGBTQ equality in the streets, from the pulpit and in the courts. “Eliminating data streams helps their mission,” Winston said. “The LGBTQ+ community must be #Indivisible.”
Top image via Ted Eytan Flickr
Trump Administration has ‘Corrected’ 2020 Census form by removing proposed inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity
“The Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey report released today inadvertently listed sexual orientation and gender identity as a proposed topic in the appendix”March 31, 2017
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