Does the 2020 census “erase” LGBT people?

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who represents my district, tweets, “Disgraceful move by Trump admin to suppress the existence of #LGBT community. To all LGBT Americans: we hear and see you. #CantEraseUs ”

Rep. Raskin, along with many other members of Congress, is following the lead of the Human Rights Campaign and allies, which have launched a publicity campaign with claims like “The Trump Administration is erasing ‘sexual orientation’ & ‘gender identity’ from the 2020 census — but they #CantEraseUs.”

But as The Hill observes, “The Census has never included questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in its surveys.” Some activists had been hoping to change that but Gary Gates, a leading expert in LGBT demographics, says the planning process was not nearly far enough along to consider adding the questions to the 2020 survey. The Census Bureau is overseen by an Obama appointee and no one has offered evidence that incoming Trump people have sought a change in census policy. (h/t columnist Guy Benson on these last two points).

There are undoubtedly pluses to gathering personal data in new categories, but for all who care about 1) privacy and 2) the danger of future misuse of information, there are also minuses, perhaps especially worth noting on this topic. David Boaz in 2010 questioned the trend toward more intrusive and comprehensive census data collection.

Separately, I have noticed that “erase” and its variants now serve as an unfailing warning of “dubious assertions lie ahead.”

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