A group of Democrat senators have created a bill that would require for citizens to identify their gender identity and sexual orientation in the 2030 census, which is the nation’s largest survey. Questions related to those two topics have been included in the Census Equality Act, as a difference from previous constitutional requirements.

So far, U.S. citizens have had to select “male” or “female” when it comes to their gender during the censuses, and described their marriage in either “same-sex” or “opposite-sex”. Analysts have stated that opening more options for self-identification could result in the largest and most comprehensive data on same-sex couples.

The bill was introduced by California’s Kamala Harris and Delaware’s Tom Carper, and was designed to gather data on LGBTQ people who are not in relationships and non-cisgender citizens.  Harris stated:

The spirit of the census is that no one should go uncounted and no one should be invisible. We must expand data collections efforts to ensure the LGBTQ community is not only seen, but fully accounted for in terms of government resources provided.”

Senators also stated that the results would help LGBTQ citizens get more access to Medicaid, housing vouchers and food aid. It would also help empower the country’s protection programs, especially in cities were there are still not laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based in sexual orientation and gender identity.

Proposed legislation still defines sexual orientation as either “heterosexuality”, “homosexuality” and “bisexuality”. However, it is still unclear what options will be presented to citizens in the actual census. Officers who work in creating the census’ questions will have to conduct research in order to create relevant proposals within a year after the bill passes.

During the previous Obama administration, several programs were opened for federal agencies to work together in creating relevant questions about orientation and identity, or “SOGI” as they called it. One of them, called Federal Interagency Working Group on Improving Measurement of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Federal Surveys, recognized the struggles of finding proper wording for their questions. They stated:

Careful attention must be paid to the translation of SOGI questions because other languages may not have terms for the SOGI concepts or only have terms that are offensive.”