“The Census counts, and so do I” is the primary message of the new video “We All Count!” produced by Our Families Count, a public education campaign to increase the visibility of LGBT people on the 2010 U.S. Census.
As Census forms are delivered to households across the country during the month of March, Our Families Count is working hard to ensure that LGBT Americans understand the importance of filling them out, as statistics gathered from each Census guides vital government decisions, from redistricting to funding allocations for social services.
While this year’s Census records only five identity areas (age, sex, race/ethnicity, relationship, tenure of stay in your home), under Relationship same-sex couples have the opportunity to be counted as either “unmarried partners” or as husband/wife.”
In an interview with GayPolitics.com, Our Families Count coordinator Che Ruddell-Tabisola explained, “What is different for the LGBT community…is that the Census will count same-sex couples as we define ourselves – whether as unmarried, same-sex adult partners (as in 2000), or as married same-sex husbands or wives.”
On their website, Our Families Count details:
“In order to be counted as a same-sex couple, one of the partners must be listed as ‘Person 1’ (since the Census asks each household member to list how he/she is related to Person 1). Same-sex couples who have been legally married or consider themselves to be spouses should identify the other person as a ‘husband or wife’.” Our Families Count does acknowledge that “those terms fit some – but certainly not all – LGBT households.”
While this Census will not record information about an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, Our Families Count encourages those “who are living with a spouse or partner [to] indicate that relationship by checking either the ‘husband/wife’ or ‘unmarried partner’ box” while advocates continue to push for congressional legislation to expand the identity categories recorded by the Census.
Although this means that transgender people cannot officially identify as such, Our Families Count notes that “the census asks each of us to tell the truth as we understand it. Check the box on the census form that most closely reflects your current gender identity.”
For further resources regarding the U.S. Census, check out the U.S. Census Bureau Toolkit for LGBT Communities.
GLAAD is a proud partner of Our Families Count and encourages all LGBT people and allies to fill out your Census and send it back to ensure our community’s full visibility.