Every ten years this population of this country gets counted. The Census Bureau is relentless in their pursuit of counting people in this country. They hire an enormous number of temporary employees to canvass every home. They do it because they must. The Constitution says so in Article I, Section II:
The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.
They perform this count so that we know how many representatives each state gets. For example, South Carolina used to have six members in the US House. Now they have seven. During the last Census, it was discovered that the population of SC went up relative to some other state in the country. That means that another state lost a representative because the total number of representatives for the US cannot exceed 435.
The Constitution doesn’t say anything about what kinds of questions Census takers have to ask. Over the years, the question have evolved. It is left up to Congress to decide the questions.
When a recent draft of the 2020 Census questions was released, it looked like there would be questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. According to CBS News, the newest draft does not include those questions.
The Census Bureau says that they never intended to ask them at all. They claim that the questions showed up in the previous draft by error.
I doubt that.
There was no error. For years, the LGBTQ community and many members of Congress have asked that these questions be in the Census. The questions were in the draft because someone put them there.
So, who made the Census Bureau remove them?
Despite his campaign promise to protect the LGBTQ community, President Trump has done everything he can to deny its existence. From his continued push to ban transgender people from serving their country in the military, to his Education Department rolling back protections for transgender students, Trump is doing what he can to ensure the LGBTQ community has no voice.
Not counting a group of people effectively allows the government to deny their existence.
There is a reason that acceptance of the LGBTQ community is declining so rapidly. We have a president who encourages bigoted behavior. He empowers the far-Right and gives them the voice they have so desperately sought after. No longer do racists and homophobes feel that they should stay silent.
We’ve seen the results. From Charlottesville to the increase in violence against the LGBTQ and Muslim communities, there is a clear correlation to Trump’s campaign and presidency to an increase in hate crimes in the US.
There is power in numbers, but do numbers matter if they aren’t counted?
The Census Bureau, and whoever had them take out the LGBTQ questions, was smart. By law, they had to present their draft to Congress by March 31 of this year. They left no time to protest the changes.
Could Congress make them change the questions, having them put the sexual orientation and gender identity questions back? Sure.
But they won’t. Not a GOP controlled Congress that has Pence and evangelicals watching over their shoulders. Not in an election year.
What the community needs to do is be vocal. We need to make it known that not counting us doesn’t erase us. Despite what they may want, we aren’t going anywhere.
This administration has pushed the LGBTQ community farther than we expected, but we’re pushing back. Under no circumstances will be give back any of the rights and freedoms we’ve gained.
Count us, don’t count us.
We’re still here.