DOJ Accused of ‘Erasing’ LGBTQ Teens from Crime Survey

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LGBT Solidarity Rally in front of the Stonewall Inn , Feb 2017. Photo by Mathias Wasik via Flickr

The U.S. Department of Justice has submitted a request seeking to revise questions relating to sexual orientation and gender identity on the annual National Crime Victimization Survey, reports NBC News.

For two years, the survey has been asking respondents 16 and older about their sexual orientation and gender identity. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics requested that the minimum age for answering these questions be raised from 16 to 18, citing “concerns about the potential sensitivity of these questions for adolescents,” according to the document with the submitted request.

The survey, administered since 1973, collects information from a nationally representative sample of 135,000 households about victimization of crimes such as rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault. The New York City Anti-Violence Project, which tracks violence against LGBTQ people, criticized the DOJ’s request.  “This survey is one of the main sources of data on crime, and it is vital for informing policy related to all forms of violence in ensuring that victims, even youth, can access support,” said the group’s Emily Waters.

This is not the first time the Trump administration has been accused of erasing LGBTQ people from federal questionnaires. In 2017, advocates were outraged after the Department of Health and Human Services removed questions about LGBTQ seniors from an annual survey that determines services for elderly Americans. Last month, the Sunlight Foundation reported that the same department had quietly removed lesbian and bisexual content from its women’s health website. The Department of Justice declined to comment. The new proposal could be implemented in six months.

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