The U.S. Dept. of Commerce one year ago today released – then quickly changed – a draft of the Constitutionally-required 2020 Census that showed the federal government would be counting the number of LGBTQ Americans. Scientists and advocates had been urging the federal government to include the question as part of the census because it helps many federal agencies determine how and where to spend their budgets.
Why are we mentioning it? Because for some reason an NBC News article, and other news articles published one year ago today, are making their way across social media as if they are new. So it’s a good time to remember that as the Trump administration is working to erase LGBT people, it is also falsely claiming it is required to ask if a Census participant is a U.S. citizen. In other words, the Trump administration is weaponizing and politicizing the U.S. census: erase the gays, target the immigrants.
“The U.S. Census Bureau, which is part of the Department of Commerce, is required to issue a list of categories it plans to track three years before the survey is conducted,” NBC News reported at the time. “Tuesday’s list showed categories ranging from race and gender to the type of plumbing in homes and the length of a person’s daily commute to work. Each category is followed by a table showing the federal agencies that rely on the data to make decisions about law enforcement, health care, equal employment opportunities and more.”
When the “proposed addition suddenly disappeared…a statement was issued by the Census bureau that called the LGBTQ inclusion a mistake.”
“The Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey report released today inadvertently listed sexual orientation and gender identity as a proposed topic in the appendix,” the U.S. Census Bureau said in a statement to NBC News. “This topic is not being proposed to Congress for the 2020 Census or American Community Survey. The report has been corrected.”
Tim Teeman, writing at The Daily Beast, explained at the time why this is a problem:
“Why did census organizers at first plan to include LGBT Americans in the census, and then—suddenly, and so far without explanation—decide not to?” he asks. “How, if not by counting them, can LGBT people be protected and have their rights, quality of life, and health maintained? By not counting LGBT people, the Government is hurting them. The case for a proper LGBT Census is a moral, as well as practical, one.”
Why is it a problem the 2020 Census will ask if you or someone in your family is or is not a U.S. citizen? Mother Jones’ Ari Berman, a voting rights expert, explains part of the reason:
More than 5 million US-born children have parents who are undocumented. If their parents are afraid to respond to Census because of citizenship question, millions of US citizens will not be counted in 2020 https://t.co/3ZALu8LTcq
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) March 28, 2018
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#IAmGay Is Trending as Weibo Scrambles to Delete ‘Illegal’ Gay Content
The hashtag #IAmGay is trending after a large microblogging site in China, Weibo, banned all gay content in a crackdown on what it says is a “cleanup” of “illegal” content. Homosexuality is not illegal in China, but there are no protections or equality measures for LGBT people. Weibo, which has has been compared to Twitter, also lumped violent content into its ban.
“Social media users reacted with posts with the hashtag #IAmGay, which had gathered 130 million views and 135,000 comments a few hours after Weibo’s initial post,” German news agency dpa International reports.
“As a member of this group, I am proud, I am glorious … I refuse to be discriminated and misunderstood,” wrote one user on Weibo.
“If one day [my children] realize that #IAmGay, I hope that they will only be happy for finding themselves that day, and not fall into the abyss of being ‘naturally illegal’,” another user wrote.
“I am gay and I’m proud, even if I get taken down there are tens of millions like me!,” another user said, according to Reuters. He also posted a photo of himself.
In a post to users Weibo said the change was made to “create a bright and harmonious community environment,” SkyNews adds.
“There can be no homosexuality under socialism?” another asked. “It is unbelievable that China progresses economically and militarily but returns to the feudal era in terms of ideas.”
As of Friday night, “Weibo has so far cleared 56,243 pieces of content, shut 108 user accounts and removed 62 topics considered to have violated its standards,” Reuters adds.
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