U.S. Census Bureau removes 'LGBT' question from 2020 census

Posted at 8:27 PM, Mar 30, 2017

The U.S. Census Bureau has shot down multiple requests by lawmakers to include sexual orientation and gender identity on the 2020 Census.

While the decision is a blow for the LGBT community across the country, News 5 learned there could be fallout for everyone here in Northeast Ohio.

The latest request received by the U.S. Census Bureau to find out just how many Americans identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender is not unusual.

"There are changes people ask for," said Mark Salling, CSU Urban College.

However, in 2020, there will not be a question related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

"Even people who have problems with that community, wouldn't you want to know how many there are?" asked Salling.

Employees at the LGBT Center of Cleveland said without updated information they cannot properly advocate for the community they serve.

"How do you pass appropriate legislation? How do you keep your citizens safe? There has always been a call for the census to ask these questions," said Ryan Clopton-Zymler.

The U.S. Census Bureau said it worked with other agencies to determine there was no federal data need to add the LGBT question.

“I think it very well could be detrimental," said Salling.

Mark Salling studies the Census at Cleveland State University's Urban College.

"It's a matter of politics and your political orientation about what you think is important to be on that survey," said Salling.

Salling said the lack of information about the LGBT population in Northeast Ohio could cost us all.

"People I don't think realize how important census data is to our economy," said Salling.

Businesses use the census data to determine their marketing strategies, along with what kind of new products they create.

"The business community would be hard pressed to do well without knowing about the population that's out there," said Salling.

Ryan Clopton-Zymler said despite the setback, residents in Northeast Ohio need to write their representatives at both the local and federal level and let them know they are here.

"The LGBT community has a presence in the City of Cleveland, in the State of Ohio and in the United States of America. We're here and our voices need to be heard," said Clopton-Zymler.

Salling said one reason the LGBT question may not have been included is money because every time you add questions to the census survey, it also adds to the cost.