Donald Trump’s government u-turns after outcry and includes LGBT people on survey
Trump’s government has backed down in the face of pressure from LGBT campaigners and reinstated a survey question about sexuality.
More than 14,000 individuals and companies wrote to the US Department of Health after it emerged that authorities planned to delete the question from a federal survey of seniors.
The department highlighted this outcry in its statement, pointing to the fact that the majority of those who had spoken out were against the question’s removal, Associated Press has reported.
The question was introduced to the survey in 2014, and was heralded by LGBT rights groups as a way of combating the dearth of data on their communities.
It was hoped that the move would help to prove the worth of effective programmes and show which services were inadequate.
The department’s move came just days after it was revealed that Trump officials had revoked Obama-era requests for data on LGBT people to be collected in the census.
Letters obtained and published by Democratic Senator Tom Carper showed that under Trump’s anti-LGBT Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice vetoed the inclusion of data on sexual orientation and gender identity.
When the erasure was revealed earlier this year, it was condemned by both campaigners and experts.
Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of California, Riverside said it could have a “potentially devastating impact” on LGBT seniors’ health.
And despite the positive move towards LGBT inclusion, the Health Department is still planning to bin a question on its survey about transgender people.
SAGE, which advocates for LGBT seniors, pledged to continue to fight for this question to be reinstated too.
“If the administration thinks that with this partial victory, SAGE will now abandon trans elders, it’s in for a big surprise,” vowed chief executive Michael Adams.
He will know that this battle for recognition will continue to be a struggle.
Since Trump became president, a second health department survey removed a sexual orientation question and a Department of Housing and Urban Development survey on LGBT homelessness was completely terminated.
Trump’s Health Secretary, Tom Price, is a co-sponsor of the First Amendment Defence Act, which would legalise discrimination against LGBT people on the grounds of religion.
He holds a zero rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard on LGBT rights, opposing anti-discrimination protections.