The Census survey doesn't ask, "Are you gay or straight?" but it will be counting (some) queer Americans. That's some amazing gaydar. How will they do it?
With help from Equality Utah Executive Director Brandie Balken, we probe the Census for its inclusion of the LGBT community.
<(all answers are paraphrased)
Q: How is the U.S. Census Bureau going to count queers if the form doesn't ask who is queer?
A: The 2010 Census will be counting not just married couples, but also unmarried partners. Because the form collects gender data on each individual in a household, one can extrapolate how many gay and the lesbian couples respond to the survey. Individuals of the same gender who indicate they are married or unmarried partners are presumed to be gay or lesbian.
Q: Will the Census count lesbians and gays who are single or those who do not live with their partners?
A: No. The Census will "count" those people, but it will not detect them as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Q: Will the census count transgender Americans?
A: No. It will count those individuals, but only as one gender or the other--whichever the individual chooses--but the Census is not designed to count how many Americans have transitioned, or are transitioning away from their received gender. The Census form only provides male and female as gender options, so choose whichever seems more appropriate.
Q: Why doesn't the Census include more dynamic monitoring of the LGBT community?
A: The Census has been slow to add more categories in the racial and ethnicity categories as well. The addition of new racial and ethnicity options has been a slow evolution and likely the addition of gender and sexuality options will be as well. Hopefully there will be more progress by 2020, when the next Census is taken.
Q: Why do we care? What's the value of having the Census count the LGBT community?
A: It helps so that people understand there are queer individuals in every community.