Though the U.S. Census has never directly counted LGBT people, opting instead to count same-sex married couples and “unmarried partner” households, a new committee will advise the U.S. Census Bureau on how to better address LGBT populations.
The National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations, Buzzfeed reports, is a 31-member committee advising the Census Bureau “on topics such as housing, children, youth, poverty, privacy, race and ethnicity, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other populations” as well as “a wide range of variables that affect the cost, accuracy and implementation of the Census Bureau’s programs and surveys, including the once-a-decade census.”
According to LGBT advocates, this is the first Census Bureau advisory committee to specifically include consideration of LGBT populations. This could potentially lead to directly counting the number of LGBT people in America through questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.
The 31 members of the committee were chosen “based on expertise and knowledge of the cultural patterns, issues and/or statistical needs of hard-to-count populations.” Among the members is Shane Snowdon, head of the LGBT Health and Aging Program of the Human Rights Campaign.
“Shane Snowdon’s experience with data collection and engaging the LGBT community will make her a valuable asset to the Census Bureau,” HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz told Buzzfeed. “We are proud that she will be serving on this committee and ensuring that our families are counted.”