Will you be able to identify as LGBT+ in the 2020 Census?

A mail carrier delivers forms for the 2010 U.S. Census. Jason E. Miczek, AP.

In early March, a draft of questions to be included in the 2020 Census was sent to Congress. It included a question about sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI in Census jargon). Several days later, in the final version, the SOGI question was left off. Thursday, the bureau changed its mind again.

“The US Census Bureau reversed a previous decision to exclude a question on sexual orientation from the Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Study,” the National LGBTQ Task Force announced yesterday.

Rea Carey, Executive Director of the Task Force, said, ““Make no mistake – public pressure on the Trump Administration works. It was messages from the members of the National LGBTQ Task Force and our partner organizations that compelled the Census Bureau to reverse their appalling decision to stop counting us.

“Thanks to the efforts of people across the country, the Census will continue collecting data about sexual orientation. We also will continue to push them to collect data about gender identity. Data about the LGBTQ community is absolutely crucial to ensuring that we are distributed the resources we need, that we are represented and that the most vulnerable in our community are protected.”

The March reversal was seen by LGBT+ activists as part of a Trump administration effort to ignore the LGBT+ community. For background on the Census Bureau’s action, visit No LGBTQ category included in Census proposal for 2020 count.

“Members of a working group of the bureau's National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations on a conference call on Tuesday with bureau staffers raised concerns after learning about the proposal to change the draft questionnaire for the Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Survey, or CBAMS,” according to meeting minutes obtained by National Public Radio (NPR).

“Responses to this survey help the bureau craft its marketing campaign to encourage different segments of the U.S. population to participate in the 2020 Census. The survey's questions try to gauge why certain people — especially among what the bureau considers ‘hard-to-count’ populations, such as racial and ethnic minorities, unauthorized immigrants, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community — do not participate,” according to an NPR report on the decision.

“On the conference call with advisory committee members, Census Bureau staffers struggled to explain why the bureau would get rid of the question, according to interviews with four of the advisers on the call,” said NPR.

While applauding the Census Bureau’s decision, The Task Force and other activists remain concerned about what they see as a pattern  at multiple federal agencies to remove LGBT+ questions from surveys they conduct.

Copyright The Gayly – September 29, 2017 @ 12 p.m. CDT.