Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Census 2010: Why Aren't They Asking About Sexual Orientation?

Seal your census form with this sticker, as a way to be counted, even though they didn't even ask. Order a free sticker here: CREDO.
You can mark yourself as:

A Straight Ally

It's interesting to me that, while some people in the U.S. think the census is some tool of conspiracy and refuse to be apart of it, some minorities are fighting just to be counted on it. I had never thought about it before, but why doesn't the census ask about our sexual orientation? Doesn't it matter to us, to know just how many people in our country identify as gay, bisexual, transgender?

No one seems to ask why the census wants to know our race. We take it for granted. Of course they want to know the racial make-up of the country; Americans are obsessed with race! And there's always the excuse that knowing about race helps us learn about economic and social trends within a subgroup of the population. It's even helpful to break down health statistics by race.

But sexual orientation also comes with certain trends. We know HIV is an issue within the gay community, and we know because it affected their community first they had to deal with stigma, they had to fight together for resources and government attention for HIV. We know that youth that come out in their teens are often thrown out of their parents' homes, often become runaways, and are at risk for suicide. There are very serious issues that affect this population, and to get resources for help, they need to be counted.

Numbers matter. When conservative groups talk about the homosexual community, they act like it's some insignificant group that doesn't impact our society except in a negative and esoteric way. They often deny that as much as 10% of our population may identify as gay.

If it were counted on the census, it would be much harder to deny civil rights.

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