be counted

Should the U.S. Census Let Trans Americans Mark Something Besides ‘Male’ Or ‘Female’?


We’ve already seen how the 2010 Census missed a huge opportunity to count America’s gays. But what about America’s transgender population?

With checkboxes only for “male” and “female on the census, respondents falling somewhere in the middle — whether biologically through their chromosomal make-up, or they know themselves to be women born into a man’s body — don’t have such an obvious choice.

“In 2000, the census form was finally altered to allow participants to identify with all their racial and ethnic groups rather than being forced to choose only one,” writes the Progressive Media Project’s Kalil Cohen. “This gave the government much more complex and accurate data regarding U.S. residents. Similarly, there needs to be a way to self identify one’s sex beyond ‘male’ or ‘female’ on the census forms. Sex, like race, is a complex category. A person’s sex includes hormones, chromosomes, and physical features, which may not neatly align as either male or female. As we saw last fall with world-class runner Caster Semenya, athletic boards have difficulty sometimes classifying people as male or female.”

We agree. We also know this is going to be a much tougher sell than getting the Census Bureau to permit respondents to choose multiple genders the way they can choose multiple ethnicities. To start with, we’re going to need to replace George Takai with Candice Cayne in those PSAs.

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