Let’s Queer Some Things Up: Census 2020
Post by: THN Staff, Kyra Henderson
Let’s queer some things up here:
Every ten years the federal government mandates individuals and families in the U.S. to participate in the Decennial Census. The data contributes to the redrawing of district lines, distributing representative seats, and determining funding for social service programs. It is also valuable when advocating for resources and enforcing civil rights protections.
While the Census is of paramount importance, it is also necessary to acknowledge that the structure of the survey leads to the overwhelming undercount of many communities, including the LQBTQ+ community. There is no explicit sexual orientation question, nor are there inclusive gender identity options. This forces those that do not self-identify as male or female to misgender themselves or to forego the census entirely. Additionally, only those that are cohabitating with a partner have an opportunity to disclose their sexual orientation.
In spite of all this though, it is still important to be counted. The Census gives us important information about LGBTQ+ demographics as well as housing situations across the country. Without data representing the makeup of the LGBTQ+ community, it makes it harder to advocate for protections, funding, and to influence critical policy decisions. Furthermore, not participating erases the experiences and the identities of the people that make up this vibrant and resilient community.
The LGBTQ+ community is composed of people from different racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds, which all interact with the systems of oppressions differently. Many of these intersections of people are also undercounted. This includes: People of color, mixed-status households, people without documentation, people experiencing homelessness, rural communities, people with low incomes, renters, single-parent households, people with limited English proficiency, and young children.
Even if your participation only tells part of your story in this year’s census, that is still meaningful.
If you are in any area in Texas, our regional office in Denver, Colorado and can be reached at 1-800-852-6159 or Denver.Regional.Office@census.gov.
To learn how you identify a census worker, please see the bureau’s guide here.