The National Black Justice Coalition on Census Results: Data Misrepresents Population for Queer People of Color
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Leading Civil Rights organization says the Census discounted many people of color with intersecting identities
WASHINGTON, DC — Earlier today, the Census Bureau released the largest quantity of results from its 2020 survey. In prior iterations, the Census has been used to identify demographic information for United States residents and to redraw voting districts, enforce antidiscrimination laws, and inform research and policymaking for the next decade.
In response, David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, issued the following statement:
“The results of last year’s Census vastly underrepresent queer communities of color.
“Despite the Census’ potential to quantify critical demographics, the survey historically undercounts Black people, Brown people, and LBGTQ+ people. This is because the collection and subsequent reporting of Census data does not account for people with intersectional identities, such as those who are both Black and LGBTQ+ and same gender loving (SGL).
“The Census historically undercounts communities of color, young people, and LGBTQ+/SGL people. As expected, the Census under-counted Black queer people in 2020. These results will have vast implications on our communities, with an especially negative impact on queer and trans people with intersecting identities. Although the Census accounted for queer and cohabitating couples, the survey lacked key questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result, the $1.5 trillion in federal spending determined by Census results will not be allocated to so many who are in need.
“While the mainstream media will likely report Census results as historically diverse, with little regard for these nuances, data matters — representation matters. Black, Latinx, Queer, and Trans people with intersecting identities are a growing and increasingly influential demographic. Many are continuing work on the frontlines of the pandemic; serving privileged communities throughout the nation, and without access to the resources or support.
“To mitigate this damage, we need to enact legislation that protects voting rights and expands civil rights with bills like the Equality Act. Going forward, we must develop interoperable data systems that account for the full diversity of our population to increase political representation for those who are intentionally ignored or overlooked.”