Watch me queer my 2010 Census form

We got our 2010 Census form in the mail today.  It’s the 10-question short form.  Here is how I queered it.


Since I am filling out the form, I’m designating myself Person 1.  On the front page of the form I marked my sex, which is female.

My wife is Person 2, so I’ve marked her relationship to me, Person 1, as “husband or wife”.  Then I marked her sex as female.

And that’s it!  I’ve queered my census form!  My wife and I will now be counted as a married lesbian couple!

Since I don’t have to return the form until April 1st, I’m hanging onto it until my Queer The Census sticker arrives in the mail.  I’ll stick that on the back of the return envelope because I want to send the message that the 2020 census needs to count all LGBT people, not just the married/partnered ones.  Oh, and don’t worry, before I mail in the form I’ll fill out the other information blanks pictured above – when you all aren’t looking ;)

For more information on Queer the Census, check out my previous diary, or better yet go to Our Families Count or Queer the Census.

A final note on confidentiality:  Read the flier that comes with your census form.  It says “Federal law protects your privacy and keeps your answers confidential.  The answers you give on the census form cannot be obtained by law enforcement or tax collection agencies.  Your answers cannot be used in court.  They cannot be obtained with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.”  Go to www.census.gov/2010census and click on “Protecting Your Answers” to learn more.

Cross-posted at Pam’s House Blend.

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27 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. is your marriage legally recognized in the state you reside?

    • No, but that doesn't matter for the census

      This is from Our Families Count:

      How will LGBT same-sex married spouses and unmarried partners be counted by the census?

      Fortunately, responding to persistent advocacy by demographers and community leaders including the Williams Institute (UCLA School of Law), National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign, the U.S. Census Bureau has reversed an earlier decision and officially announced it will release counts of spouses as well as same-sex unmarried partners.

      The Census form asks you to list the person who owns or rents the house as "Person 1" and then indicate how everyone in the household is related to "Person 1". In order to be counted as a same-sex couple, one of the partners must be listed as "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". Those terms fit some - but certainly not all - LGBT households.

      Other same-sex couples may be more comfortable using the term "unmarried partner". In general, this term is designed to capture couples who are in a "close personal relationship" and are not legally married or do not think of themselves as spouses. Census forms do not provide an option yet to explicitly designate a couple as united by civil union or a public domestic partner registry.

      • Indeed,...

        ... declaring one's race can be a complex issue and for purposes of the Census, people 'self-declare' their race.  I think it's pretty legitimate to 'self-declare' marriage.  Indeed, I'll bet it'd be eye opening to see the statistics that come out of it for many an equality opponent.

      • Well my reason for asking

        is that I could see using the data collected (i.e. a large number of unmarried gay and lesbian couples) as good meat for a pro gay marriage campaign.  I respect what you're doing, but if you're doing the census, why not just do it accurately and leave the protests for the streets and government offices?

        • I want to be honestly counted

          The reality is that I am legally married.  The accurate answer is "husband or wife".  Why should Mr Lynne's legal marriage be counted accurately and not mine?  If the census is going to ask about relationships at all, it makes sense that people answer the question in the most meaningful way, not ignore reality.

          This isn't a protest, it is an attempt to start the government down the road to getting honest information about LGBT residents and citizens, a distinct minority.  The census is as much about the apportionment of dollars as it is about rejiggering congressional districts.

          • I guess my question is...

            How does this square with DOMA, which I'd just soon be repealed of course, but I didn't think the Census had a choice under current law.

            • There is no conflict

              Otherwise the 2010 Census wouldn't have condoned this.  The Obama administration has declared that it isn't against federal law to collect honest data.  Imagine that!

  2. Interesting fixation

    on biological versus adopted and step children.  And interesting fixation on sex.  Seems to me to really queer the census you shouldn't be checking those gender boxes at all, or checking both of them, and crossing out the biological/adopted/step designation and just have something like Slave, to reflect the ownership of the person, rather than their sex or their biological origin.

    • $quot;Queering the Census$quot; in this case means not excluding LGBT people

      If you wanted to make a mockery of the census, then yes, you'd do as you suggested.  But if you simply want to be honestly enumerated along with the cis-genders and heterosexuals, then you answer the questions in a way that reflects reality rather than reflects societal biases.

      • LGBT identity should be measured, I agree

        It would be good to have a question for straight/gay/bi, to get an accurate number and to track changes in it over time.  I think colleges and high schools should be taking anonymous surveys and asking sexual identity, along with amount of sexual activity, drug use, television use, and other important social trends.  The census can't help us measure those things, because every ten years would too long to wait on rapidly shifting trends, and the census is usually filled out by parents who might not know their children are gay, or have sex, or take drugs.  

        • the pink sticker pictured above,

          as well as the many groups involved in letting LGBT people know that they can answer the 2010 form in a way that is honest to their reality, is part of a larger effort to have the 2020 census include questions on gender identity and sexual orientation.

          you raise a good point about the census only being as accurate as the person filling out the form is honest, forthcoming or informed.  (i'd add that it's also only as good as the questions asked.)  i'm sure this is a problem for all polls and censuses, and of course isn't just a problem with lgbt-related questions.  for example, it is a challenge getting undocumented residents to participate in the census, due to fear of being identified and deported.

      • $quot;World's first genderless person$quot;

        It's an Austrailian.

        • not at all

          there are people everywhere who don't fit into the biological, legal and social binary system we expect here.  some countries provide a "third sex" category for people who aren't distinctly male or female.

          please be aware that calling a human being an "it" is really, really nasty business because it implies they're less than human.  if you do a tiny bit of online digging, you'll find there are more appropriate pronouns.  in fact, one was introduced in the article you linked to.

          • don't waste your breath

            dcsurfer is rabidly anti-gay and seriously misogynist.  He's not worth engaging on any topic.

            • my response is as much for

              other readers who are honestly ignorant (as opposed to purposefully hurtful) as it is for dcsurfer.  i find some comments are worth fielding despite the blogging history or apparent intent of the commenter because the commenter actually provides a great learning opportunity (sometimes despite themselves!).

              • I appreciate that

                And I don't appreciate huh harrassing me on threads about other topics because of my position on same-sex marriage.

                I apologize for using what I knew was an offensive pronoun, but I don't mean to be offensive to this person or to trans people.  I would never refer to a person of ambiguous sex or a trans person changing sex as "it", I would respect their situation and try to use the right pronoun.  I agree that dismissing or denying a person's sex is a nasty insult because it implies they are less than human.  But this person is different in an important way: he's* claiming to not be either sex, he's calling himself "it" by being, if the article is correct, the world's first legally neuter person.  I don't think trans people or intersex people desire anyone to think of them as neuter, which is why "it" is offensive for them.  But this guy wants to be neuter, and so would seem to want to be referred to with a neuter pronoun.

                *(Oops, well, I'm gonna leave it this time, that's apparently what my subconscious has decided this person is, and my subconscious doesn't intend any insult, it knows to respect everyone's human potential)

                • hogwash

                  I wasn't "harassing" you.  The discussion was about vegetarianism as a pillar of progressivism and I pointed out that your homophobia and misogyny directly refutes that.

                  Again, it's not about your position on same-sex marriage, it's about your homophobia:

                  because I let it show Most people don't, they just internalize their discomfort and come up with other rationalizations for why they are opposed to the direction and priorities of government.  In the privacy of a voting booth, when the issue is clear and in front of them, people feel free to express their homophobia, but no one likes admitting it, even to themselves, because they have learned the lesson that being concerned with the gay agenda gets one ridiculed and the people that do that are all latent homosexuals themselves.  So, ironically, their own homophobia prevents them from dealing with the issue directly or discussing it at Tea Parties. People want a functioning government, they fear government is controlled by gays, they oppose schools teaching about homosexuality or encouraging kids to be gay, and of course kids can be turned gay.  Hardly any kids were gay 40 years ago, now it seems fifty percent are.  You would agree that maximizing the number of gay students is the goal of Kevin Jennings, et al, right?  If getting 25 students to identify as gay is good, getting 26 is even better, right?  There's no limit, right?

                  • Missed that original comment

                    But I have to respond to it now that I see it.

                    "Most people don't, they just internalize their discomfort and come up with other rationalizations for why they are opposed to the direction and priorities of government."

                    What a crock of shit.

                    Most people, when they get to know someone or something different but not harmful that they didn't know before, BECOME comfortable. Only people who insist on holding onto stupid bigotry in the face of knowledge remain uncomfortable. Or who aren't secure in their own sexual identity....

                    Hell, I grew up in totally white NH, I am not kidding, I got to know my first real African American in 6th grade. I didn't know how to act, at the time, though my recollection is that since no one in my class knew how to act in that situation, no one acted much different towards him. He might have other memories, goodness knows.

                    My first exposure to anyone GLBT was in high school, one particular guy only (the only "out" person I knew - it was the early 90s and most kids weren't out then) and in college (I didn't know any out lesbians until then). I was remarkably sheltered growing up. Sure, at the beginning, I was uncomfortable - more because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings and didn't know how to not do so. However, that quickly faded as I became exposed to people with different backgrounds and different points of view.

                    Pretty much about the same time you start meeting people who are different, you start realizing they're just like you. Sometimes with different experiences (facing bigotry you never had to) but that just makes them even more human.

                    Anyone who says that people just bury their uncomfortable feelings around gays is someone who is seriously anxious about their own sexual ID. Someone who is secure in who they are has no reason to fear anyone else or their sexual orientation.

                    Sorry, that just fucking irked me. If I can go from being the most sheltered Catholic southern NH white girl (ask the Mr...) to being comfortable around my friends who are different (in whatever manner), then anyone can. If you don't, that's YOUR problem, NOT the "gay agenda's". YOU are the asshole, my friend.

  3. I'm sorry, I'm so last century

    Opposite sex, inter-racial marriage.  Would have been cutting edge in 1950, but in 2010 - who cares?

    • Sadly, much of the GOP and conservidems

      and the radical-right who shoot at their feet.

      • Ever wonder why?

        Why is it that the people who insist that you marry your own kind, all of a sudden fall apart when people take their advice and select a same-sex partner?

  4. Lawful and Correct

    That census form is filled out lawfully and correctly.

    Massachusetts allows same sex marriage,and Laurel and her wife are married to each other and both female.

    For straight couples, each state actually has different laws for how non-related the two partners must be to get married. In the US, marriage is a matter of state law, and this state allows it (Massachusetts).

    As for the "sanctity" of marriage, each spouse sanctifies the marriage for the other spouse as far as I am concerned.

    To NOT fill out the census form that way would have been incorrect.

    • That's true

      You seem to know the rules, do you know what California couples in DP's are supposed to do?  Unmarried partner?  I'd think they should designate "Husband or wife" as well.

      • they should designate $quot;husband or wife$quot;

        whether or not it is legally recognized as such by the state.  when it comes to answering the census questions, it doesn't matter what the state thinks, it matters whether you and your partner consider your relationship the equivalent to marriage.  if you're partners but you don't consider yourselves as essentially married, then the "unmarried partners" option is always available.  again, the choice is up to the couple and however they view their relationship, not how they think the government views it.

  5. Wish you could visit for a day

    just to experience the reactions of high school seniors (and younger) to the sea change that has occurred in Massachusetts since the marriage law was enacted.  You would be so proud to see how vociferously and vehemently straight kids argue on behalf of their gay/lesbian/other peers.  

    Our Alliance at school when I first started there (about 6 years ago) was a paltry and sad thing--if 5 kids attended that would be a good thing.  Now greater than 30 kids attend twice a week--and that number has grown incrementally as the middle schoolers enter high school.  And this is not a wealthy, well educated town by any means--it's a text-book blue-collar suburb complete with parents who harbor deep anger, resentment, and bigotry.  

    I am heartened tremendously by the changes I've seen in such a short time.  These changes only reinforce--for me and my own son--that we'd never live anywhere else.  We'll wait for the rest of the nation to catch up.  

    • so great to hear!

      i sometimes participate as "the lesbian" on a panel of speakers asked to go into schools and tell our personal stories.  it was amazing to realize that last time at the middle school, when the students were asked to raise their hand if they knew a gay person, 80-90% did so.  i'm told by some local old times that this wasn't the case 10 years ago.  back then, only a few would shyly raise their hands.  

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