According to HuffPost, Senate Democrats introduced a bill on Tuesday to include sexual orientation and gender identity on the U.S. census.
Called the Census Equality Act, the bill would require the Census Bureau to incorporate questions about one’s sexual orientation and gender identity to the census by the year 2030.
Democratic Senators Kamala Harris and Tom Carper introduced the bill on Tuesday to promote equality and visibility for those in the LGBTQ+ community. Backed by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Corey Booker, and Tim Kaine, the bill aims to help LGBTQ people receive any government assistance that they may need.
Senator Harris released a statement on Tuesday, claiming,
“The spirit of the census is that no one should go uncounted and no one should be invisible.”
“We must expand data collections efforts to ensure the LGBTQ community is not only seen, but fully accounted for in terms of government resources provided,” Harris continued. “This information can also provide us with better tools to enforce civil rights protections for a community that is too often discriminated against.”
The U.S. Census is a nation-wide survey conducted every ten years that is used to estimate the age, race, sex, and quantity of the U.S. population. Census data is then used to determine the amount of federal funding individual states receive, and to establish state legislative districts.
In addition, the Senate bill would require questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to be added to the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey in 2020.
Senator Carper noted that the U.S. government has a responsibility to accurately represent all Americans. In a statement issued on Tuesday, Carper said, “Today, despite the fact that roughly 10 million Americans identify as LGBTQ, the community is left unrepresented on the census.”
“In order for our government and the businesses that drive our economy to work for the American people,” he added, “they must have the most accurate and comprehensive data on those they serve.”
The government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, David Stacy, praised the new Senate bill, thanking Senators Harris and Carper for their year-long effort to introduce the Census Equality Act. “It’s absolutely critical,” Stacy claimed, “that we have the hard data needed to find solutions and address the unique challenges Americans face based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“The Census and American Community Survey are crucial tools to meet these needs,” he said.
While some experts have voiced their concerns about privacy, worrying that the this new required information might put LGBTQ people at risk, the bill would follow the same privacy standard used by the current census, which bars the release of personal information until 72 years after the survey has been conducted.