Sending Office: Honorable Raul M. Grijalva
Oppose the Erasure of LGBT People from Federal Surveys
Endorsing Organizations: American Psychological Association, National LGBTQ Task Force, Williams Institute
Current Co-signers: Reps. Pocan, Polis, Takano, Capuano, Nadler, DeFazio, Serrano, Pallone, Panetta, Norton, Lowenthal, Schakowsky, Gomez, Moulton, DeGette, Rice (NY), Esty, Johnson (GA), Velázquez, Barragán, Titus, Crist,
Clarke, Raskin, Swalwell, Khanna
Deadline: Wednesday May 23 COB
Over the course of the last 16 months, federal surveys and other data collections have slowly stopped asking about sexual orientation and/or gender identity (SOGI). This includes data collection about teen crime victims, homeless youth, and older Americans.
These questions ask respondents to voluntarily disclose their SOGI to help inform policy making. Rolling back these data collections weakens the limited data the federal government currently collects and ultimately makes it harder to effectively address the
needs of LGBT people.
In fact, just last week, the CDC announced that it will
roll back data collection about LGBT people on the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS is a critical source of data about the health and well-being of people across the country.
I invite you to join me in writing to the Office of Management and Budget to ask that they expand, rather than restrict, federal data collection about SOGI. This letter calls on OMB to restore erased questions and to consider including SOGI questions in
future federal data collections. It also expresses our disapproval of the Administration’s broader effort to erase LGBT people from public life. The deadline for signing on is Wednesday May 23rd at the close of business.
Please join me in calling on Director Mulvaney to reverse this harmful trend.
If you have any questions or to sign on, please contact Eric van der Vort at
Eric.vanderVort@mail.house.gov or 202-225-2435 by Wednesday May 23rd, 2018 at close of business.
Raúl M. Grijalva
Member of Congress
May 17, 2018
The Honorable Mick Mulvaney
Office of Management and Budget
Executive Office of the President
725 17th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20503
Dear Director Mulvaney,
We are writing to express our concern about the Administration’s removal of voluntary questions about sexual orientation and/or gender identity from federal surveys and other data collections. Federal data collection about sexual and gender minorities is
already limited, and should be expanded in order to better inform policy making, program design, and service delivery. Ultimately, the federal government’s ability to fairly serve all Americans is at issue. We commend the U.S. Census Bureau for improving
measurement of cohabiting same-sex couples on the Decennial Census and the American Community Survey (ACS). However, we are troubled by the Administration’s repeated actions to roll-back federal data collections on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Most recently, for example, the Bureau of Justice Statistics has vowed to stop asking youth respondents to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to voluntarily and confidentially disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity, even though
these data are crucial to understanding and counteracting victimization of LGBT youth and even though numerous federal surveys demonstrate that youth can and are willing to answer these questions. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal
agencies withdrew requests to the U.S. Census Bureau to add sexual orientation and gender identity measures to the ACS and Census, even though such data collections are necessary for enforcing civil rights laws, among other reasons.
We have also seen efforts by the Administration to roll-back or stall data collection on sexual orientation and/or gender identity on the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants,
Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living, and the Census Behaviors, Attitudes, and Motivators Survey. All of these—and other data collections—substantially inform policy-making about vulnerable populations, including the elderly,
people with disabilities, and children in the adoption and foster care systems. Refusing to include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity means we are unable to account for LGBT people’s specific needs as we develop policies and programs.
We see this pattern as part of a disturbing trend by the Administration to make life harder for LGBT people. Among other anti-LGBT actions, the Administration has ended protections for transgender students, workers, and soldiers, turned “religious freedom”
into a license to discriminate, and nominated numerous anti-LGBT judges and other appointees. The refusal to include LGBT people in federal data collections, which affect how federal programs are administered and how federal funds are allocated, does not just
harm our ability to make good policy – it makes LGBT Americans less visible. We oppose any effort to push LGBT Americans out of public life.
Specifically, we request that the Administration expand federal data collection relevant to LGBT people, rather than hinder it, including by (1) restoring the sexual orientation and gender identity items on the NCVS for youth, (2) restoring the requests
by the Department of Justice and other agencies to the U.S. Census Bureau to add sexual orientation and gender identity items to the ACS and Census; (3) allowing AFCARS to implement data collection related to LGBT parents and adolescents, and (4) keeping in
place the sexual orientation and gender identity module on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). In addition, the Administration should add sexual orientation and gender identity items to other
population-based surveys and administrative data collections, such as the Current Population Survey.
We are committed to achieving equality and prosperity for LGBT and non-LGBT people alike. In order to do so, we need to have reliable data about the LGBT population. Allowing respondents to federal surveys to voluntarily self-disclose their sexual orientation
and gender identity, among other demographic items, is critical to developing inclusive and effective policies.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0