Making Sense of the Cenus: What’s On There For You Homogays

It is illegal — yes, a crime — to neglect the U.S. Census mailer that’s now arriving in your mailbox. You have to fill it out. Or the feds are gonna hunt you down! But probably not. For queers, the 2010 census represents the first time that same-sex marriage is even legal in some jurisdictions. And while the federal government still treats gay marriages the same as unicorns and pixie dust, there’s a brand new checkbox on there some of you might want to mark. It’s the “unmarried partners” label, and Mary “Bside” Buckheit — she of the Catholic coming out story — is gonna ‘splain how this works.

Of course, still missing from the 2010 Census: questions about sexual orientation. Major oversight, ya?s

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  • romeo

    As for a question about sexual orientation, I think the government would rather go on the limited assumptions they currently use, rather than find out the, I suspect, horrific truth about how many of us there really are! LOL

  • Jeremyrh2387

    Aww I like her she is too cute!

  • Chandler in Las Vegas

    I found it really easy, under the racial designations where you could check as many boxes that apply AND write in a designation, I checked the white Caucasian box, and checked then wrote in Gay. I am officially a member of the White Gay race.

  • Hmmmmm

    Yep, that Cenus is so difficult. I had no idea what to do when I got the Cenus in the mail, but now that you’ve given me some great tips on how to deal with the Cenus, I’m going to be much more confident on how to fill it out.

  • the plant man

    STOP!!! Just a few days ago, you ran an item that said the census wants to know what YOU consider your relationship to be. If you put in “unmarried Partner”, they will consider you to be roommates and not a couple. Whereas, you can designate your spouse as “husband” or “wife”. I also added that we were gay and had been “married” for over twenty years.

  • jeffree

    “TRUST US–We’re the government!!”
    They say on the CENSUS (a word that *even* stoopid learning disabled Jeff here can spell & oh, I do not write for a living!!) that the information will not be shared but they don’t say what the penalty is for disclosure or how we will know if the info falls into wrong hands.

    This is suspicious!

    My friend who is African American, her parents from Ghana, says she circled the word Negro on her CENUS. I thought we didnt still use the word but the government still uses that???

  • wannabegay

    ok… you know what happened? at the last census? gays&lesbians that checked the unmarried partners box got tricked. the computer program saw two males or two females as partners and RANDOMLY CHANGED the sex of one of them, so it would seem like that’s a str8 couple. Even more, they can’t really count gay and lesbian because they would break the law, DOMA. it’s gonna be messy. but i hope we get counted, even though there are gays without a partner as well. good video. congrats!

  • clark

    I wrote in the margins of mine: “As a gay citizen of New York, we’re not allowed to marry.”

  • marcus

    One more potential problem. My “unmarried partner” is in the military, and occasionally stays on bases away from home. This form ASKS. If I tell the truth and answer the form, as I am legally obligated to do, I have to say that we are both male, we are unmarried partners (thus, gay), and he sometimes stays “in the military.” I also have to give his full name and date of birth. That information then goes into a computer for all eternity, and who knows who could make something nasty of it in the future.

    So much for “not asking.”

  • wannabegay

    @marcus: the information you provide cannot be used for any other purposes. if your partner would have been an illegal alien he would also be protected by the law. if anyone uses the info that you provide for other reasons than statistics, then they go to jail.

  • Keith Kimmel

    The Census, as it is currently conducted, is unconstitutional. I refuse to complete it beyond the first question as a matter of principle. I did so last year as well, they did hassle me about it to the point of sending an agent to my condo to spy on me, but they did not charge me with any crimes. This year, I threw mine away.

  • ossurworld

    Why is this information being collected? and for whom?

  • marcus

    @wannabegay: Thanks. Yes, I know what the law is now, and I’m not particularly paranoid that the Census Bureau is using the info for any nefarious purpose currently. My only concern is that once the data are stored in electronic format, they are there forever, regardless of what rules or laws may change, how the political climate may shift, and who may get into office.

    To me, this just demonstrates a real paradox in the government’s treatment of gay folks and emphasizes the need to do away with policies like DADT.

  • delurker

    @Keith Kimmel: lol more losertarian bullshit. and you refused to fill your census form LAST year? you know that the census is taken every TEN years right? you sound like a real expert on the constitution.

    if you’re gonna make up about bullshit like this, at least get your facts straight.

  • GimmeABreak

    This Census form fucks many LGBT families. As I was filling out the form, it asked how my child was related to me – adoption or biological. So, how is the non-bio mom of a lesbian couple supposed to answer that question? In many states, the non-bio mom does not have to complete an adoption to legally be the child’s parent. In California, a gay couple that uses a gestational surrogate does not have to complete an adoption for the non-bio dad to legally be the child’s parent. In my case, it’s none of the Census Bureau’s business which one of us is the bio-dad. I left that question blank and if they come knocking on my door I’ll just tell them we don’t know. (This question also screws the heterosexual couples that used a sperm donor.)

  • wannabegay

    @marcus: no law applies retroactively, so you are safe, i would say.

  • randy

    The information is collected because it’s required by the US Constitution, and has been ever since the founding of our republic.

    The problems that arise with regards to filling out the census should be brought to the attention of the US Census.

    IF this is done correctly, we will at least get more information on how many gay unmarried couples there are in any particular place in the country. I hope that will give real impetus to us getting same sex marriage. Part of the arguments against SSM is that very few gays take advantage of it (a lie, I know, but still, we need to knock this one out of the ballpark).

  • The Bony Man

    OK. I am an official representative of the Census Bureau, and a gay man, so let me clear some things up here. First, whoever said that the Census is unconstitutional is clearly lacking in Constitutional knowledge. It is called for in the Constitution, and is part of how we determine how many people each state gets in the House of Representatives. Fill it out, you might get more reps, and wouldn’t that be awesome?

    Second, yes, I was trained that you are allowed to put what you consider your relationship to be. If you say married, you really do have to be married (unfortunately) but you can list unmarried partner and that will be counted.

    Out of my capacity as a Census representative, I would say list yourself as married if you feel like it. We would much rather have each person be counted and maybe do it a little wrong than just not count you at all. If you’re legally married, then definitely fill it out as married. You are, so we can’t get mad at you for lying! I do have some issues about the gender boxes, especially being check one rather than fill in. It doesn’t allow for sufficient transgender or intersex identification, but I am looking into what I am supposed to do for just such an issue.

  • jeffree

    @The Bony Man: Thanks 4 your input! I sent my census form in two days ago because mine was easy: no kids, don’t live w/ my BF yet, & yes I live alone. no, I dont speak Chinese or Russian or Vietnamese but thanks for the two postcards that offerred help in case I did!!

    big waste of money with the postcards but oh well.

  • Jake the libertarian

    As far as the question on sexual orientation… I am not sure I want to send the government my name, dob, and sexual orientation to be put in some file. They don’t need to know that… and I can’t imagine any good coming out of them having that information.

  • chuclav

    The form read simply makes the decision for those of us who are married to same gendered people easy. I am married and the person filling out the form. The other person who lives in my home is my ‘spouse’ (as stated on form) so the decision was easy. English, as I’m told by my all of my friends for whom English is a second (or third or eighth) language is a difficult one to learn. I’m a native speaker so had no problem.

  • B. Peregrine

    @jeffree: I’m a gay woman who will be getting legally married to my (female) partner in three months. I’ve been wondering whether I should tell the literal truth and say that we are unmarried partners or “lie” by three months and say that we’re married – and tending towards the latter, since we’ll be married for all but three months of the decade during which this census will be relevant. Given your suggestions, I’ll definitely be reporting that we’re married!

  • jeffree

    @B. Peregrine: Congrats on the marriage!! Yes my gay uncle & his hub agonized for days over what 2 put on the form. Theyre not legally married in the state where they live, but they still said they’re married on the form!! Its a national census — so they figure they r married in the US anyway.

    if youre open to the idea, please let Queerty or another site know when u get married! Stay in touch, ok?

Comments are closed.