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Be Counted! 2010 Census & GLBT Households

If you haven’t already received your U.S. Census form in the mail, look for its arrival in the coming days. One form will be sent to each household, which will allow the U.S. Census Bureau to count the number of people who live in the United States and compile demographic information about the nation. As determined by the Constitution, the U.S. Census is conducted every ten years. Every household’s participation is vital to the Census’s success, so fill out your form and mail it back right away.

It’s easy – just 10 questions, one form per household. A household is defined as all persons living in the same residence on National U.S. Census Day, April 1, 2010.

It’s safe – your information will remain strictly confidential for 72 years. Only statistical data will be released.

It’s important – the information helps allocate political representation, can shatter community myths, and determines distribution of social service funding, and that has a direct impact on organizations like Montrose Counseling Center.

How does the U.S. Census report members of the GLBT communities?
The Census does not ask questions about anyone’s sexual orientation. However, it does ask for information about people who co-reside and their relationship to one another. Therefore, it will gather information about same-sex couples who live together. Couples may choose to self report as “married” or “unmarried partners.” Couples do not need to be legally married to report as married. Couples reporting as “housemates” will not be reflected as GLBT.

Members of the GLBT communities have historically under-reported because of confidentiality concerns. However, all individual information is safe and will be kept confidential for 72 years. The U.S. Census will only release statistical data.

It is important that GLBT individuals participate in the Census so that our communities will be represented and visible. For the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau will release a detailed report with statistical data about same-sex relationships in 2012. The report will likely help shatter myths about the community and show that many GLBT individuals are parents raising children and that we live in all areas, not just in cities.

Can I report as GLBT if I don’t live with my partner?
The Census does ask for anyone’s sexual orientation, so it does not collect this information. However, in an effort to change the Census so that all of the members of our communities can report as GLBT in the future, www.QueertheCensus.Org is urging people to seal their Census envelope with a pink sticker, which they will mail you for free. On the sticker, individuals may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or straight ally.

How does the U.S. Census report transgender individuals?
The U.S. Census contains two options for gender, “male” and “female.” This is a self-reporting form, and individuals may select the gender with which they most identify. Some people believe the Census requires the respondent to fill out their biological gender, but that is not the case.

How does the U.S. Census report non-documented individuals?
The U.S. Census does not ask for individuals’ citizenship or immigration status. You should report everyone living in your household on National U.S. Census Day April 1, 2010, regardless of their documentation.

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