By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
As Trump’s Justice Department continues to roll back any progress in LGBTQ civil rights, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DOJ is removing questions pertaining to gender identity and sexual orientation from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) about violence.
The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) which is administered twice a year to roughly 135,000 households was shocked to hear the DOJ’s announcement. The survey’s is confidential as well as voluntary and provides information on crimes, both reported and unreported.
On Thursday April 11, the Justice Department issued a 30-day notice that questions about sexual orientation and gender identity will be removed from the survey when 16-17-year-olds take it. President Obama approved the questions on the NCVS back in 2016.
The uproar over the announcement centers on two questions; The first question asks about the participant’s sexual orientation, and the other is a two-part question about the participant’s sex assigned at birth and their gender identity.
Plus according to the memo issued by DOJ to the NCVS, “The minimum age for these questions will be raised to 18 due to concerns about the potential sensitivity of these questions for adolescents,” the memo states.
When the DOJ was asked by reporters why the change in policy, the spokesperson had no explaination or what “potential sensitivity” even means. Nor did it have a reasoning as to why they’re only worried that those under the age of 18 will find the questions potentially sensitive. They could be referring to the idea that LGBT issues are an “adult” topic that children should be kept away from to protect their innocence.
“While we appreciate the potential sensitivity of these questions for some people, no one is forced to answer them,” said Adam Romero of the Williams Institute. “Asking NCVS respondents to voluntarily and confidentially disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity provides crucial data on criminal victimization of LGBT people, who are subject to high rates of hate crimes and other violence,” said Romero.
Kerith Conron of the Williams Institute added…“We know that LGBT youth are more likely to be victimized, sometimes by their own families, and we need data from the NCVS to learn whether crimes are reported and how the criminal justice system is responding to young LGBT victims,” said Conron.
The Justice Department is accepting public comment on the change until May 11, 2018.
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