Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee, was joined by 55 members in submitting comments to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in response to the agency’s proposed effort to eliminate sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) questions from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The Trump Administration has baselessly proposed eliminating data collection on 16- and 17-year old survey respondents as part of its larger effort to erase LGBT Americans from federal statistics.
“Other federal studies have shown that young LGBT individuals face higher rates of criminal victimization than their straight, heterosexual peers, including higher rates of being bullied, physically attacked, and threatened with weapons in schools,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “BJS has provided no meaningful justification for changing the NCVS to eliminate information of great interest to policy makers and the public.”
The BJS’ effort to eliminate the questions is thinly veiled with concerns about the potential “sensitivity” for young respondents. However, the cognitive testing for the SOGI questions, completed in 2017, indicated that there were, “no findings that the questions were too sensitive to obtain responses.” The agency has not cited any information to back up its assertions, despite the fact its own record clearly shows the contrary.
In addition to Congressman Nadler, the letter was signed by Reps. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Nanette Barragan (D-CA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), André Carson (D-IN), Matthew Cartwright (D-PA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Bill Foster (D-IL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Henry C. "Hank" Johnson (D-GA), Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), Daniel Kildee (D-MI), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jared Polis (D-CO), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Peter Welch (D-VT), and John Yarmuth (D-KY).
The full text of the letter sent to the Bureau of Justice Statistics can be found here.