The census, which goes back to 1790, is done every decade to estimate the number of U.S. citizens and to apportion congressional districts. Millions of U.S. citizens also find a lengthy household survey in the mailbox, too, which is known as the American Community Survey, or ACS. It demands answers about your ethnicity; your home and acreage; number of automobiles you own; your commute to work; and even your number of divorces.
The survey, which was 48 pages in 2020, is mandatory to fill out according to federal law and carries a $100 fine for failing to do so.
Now, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it plans to ask questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to people age 15 and up, according to an Associated Press article. These new questions would expand LGBT-related questions in the ACS from questions that are currently posed to same-sex couples, according to the AP story.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced in September it was testing how to phrase its questions on sexual orientation and gender identity, and where to place them on the ACS. Respondents will first see a sexual orientation question about being “gay, lesbian, or straight.”
Next, two questions on gender identity begin with asking about your “sex assigned at birth,” which has been called a non-sensical and unscientific phrase since a person’s sex was determined nine months earlier at fertilization. The second question about gender identity asks to identify your current gender, a question that now includes 107 choices according to the website sexualdiversity.org. It is not clear from the AP story how many of those gender choices the Census survey will list on its mandatory survey.
“This is another superfluous waste of taxpayers’ money,” Paul Caprio, of the One Nation Under God Foundation, complains. “It’s not needed. It’s irrelevant and it’s a promotion of a transgender agenda.”
The survey’s new LGBT-related questions may be news to many Americans but the Census Bureau has been publicly working on the project for several years. A related AP story in 2022 reported the Census Bureau was seeking $10 million for its new test questions. For that story last year, the AP interviewed a person named Scout – a “transgender man who uses one name” – who complained he felt “invisible” by the lack of transgender-related questions on the American Community Survey.
“Change is in the air. It’s exciting,” Kerith Conron, an LGBT activist and UCLA researcher interviewed by the AP, said of the new questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.
If the new U.S. Census survey asks any question about those topics, Caprio says the answers should be used to collect mental health information.
“This is a mental illness,” he says, “unless someone's just masquerading for some other purpose.”