CDC asks youngsters if they question their gender identity in new tobacco use survey
Follow the Science, or Follow the Politics? One public watchdog asks “Whether controversial social goals are appropriate to be part of expensive taxpayer surveys on youth tobacco use may strike some as closer to appeasement of favored special interests than the genuine pursuit of sound scientific data.”
The Biden administration’s National Tobacco Youth Survey for 2023 asks middle and high school students to disclose their sexual orientation and whether or not they are questioning their gender identity.
The survey is distributed annually by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health to gauge the progress of “comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs” for youth in the U.S., according to the CDC website. In 2020, changes were made to include a question asking if any students identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or “something else,” according to documents from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
In the 2023 survey, however, the questions went further and asked students about transgenderism and whether they feel in alignment with their biological sex.
“Some people describe themselves as transgender and/or nonbinary when the way they think or feel about their gender is different from their sex assigned at birth,” the survey reads. “Do you identify as transgender and/or nonbinary?”
“There is a concern that this important survey that essentially informs the federal government’s understanding of the issues and drives its policy surrounding youth smoking may be being exploited for other purposes, perhaps to the detriment of its ultimate integrity,” Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, a research and education organization, told the DCNF. “Whether controversial social goals are appropriate to be part of expensive taxpayer surveys on youth tobacco use may strike some as closer to appeasement of favored special interests than the genuine pursuit of sound scientific data.”
One of the answer options reads “I am not sure yet or questioning if I am transgender and/or nonbinary,” according to the survey. Another question explains the definition of “sexual orientation” before requesting that students identify their romantic preferences.
“Sexual orientation is a person’s emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction to another person,” the question reads. “There are many ways a person can describe their sexual orientation and many labels a person can use. Which of these options best describes your sexual orientation?”
Students could choose “straight or heterosexual,” “Gay or lesbian,” “Bisexual, pansexual, or queer” or “Asexual,” according to the survey. The respondents could also say they weren’t sure or didn’t understand the question.
In February 2022, the CDC made a “Non-Substantive change request” to the OMB, asking to “update” existing questions on a variety of topics including “questions/answer choices on sexual orientation and gender identity (including non-binary),” according to OMB documents. The CDC notes that the surveys are often changed slightly “to maintain relevance with emerging tobacco use behaviors.”
The CDC also requested for new questions to be added regarding situations where students may have experienced racial or ethnic discrimination. Students could answer yes to a number of situations, including being “wrongly disciplined in school,” “hassled by the police,” “given a lower grade than you deserved” or “received poor service in a restaurant or store,” according to the survey.
The CDC and OMB did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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