Queer/Race in the Census

Posted in Uncategorized by kth14 on April 8, 2010

This article is against “queering the census” or rather adding an option on the census about sexual orientation. This argues that LGBTQ peoples are struggling for the same rights as heterosexual people and therefore categorizing non-heterosexual individuals would be against the idea of the LGBTQ community being ordinary Americans.

Gay “Marriage”

Instead of getting a part on the census where one can indicate sexual orientation, the lesbian and gay individuals can now check the “married” box if they believe that reflects the status of their relationship. On the census form they are allowed to participate an acknowlege their relationship as a marriage while legally they are not allowed to have this title.

President Obama filled out his census form and when asked about race he checked the “Black, African Am., or Negro” box despite being half white. The government is trying to encourage people to check whichever box they feel expresses them best, which for Obama was black/African American/negro instead of “multiracial” or “white.”

So, the census is a very big deal and highly publicized to the point where I do not want to do it because it is being shoved down my throat too much. But, some recent articles have taken a very critical view of the census and how it applies to the LGBTQ community and racial communities, specifically black peoples. The first article, “Don’t queer the census” has some good points about the LGBTQ community being just Americans instead of the “gays” or “queer” population. Not having a box to choose sexual orientation integrates queer people with the normative, heterosexual population.

Also, there are way too many ways for queer people to identify themselves (gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, I just like to experiment, etc) and trying to define queer people in specific ways is hard to do while including every definition and combination of definitions. Each individual has his or her own identity and sexual preferences, should we include  on the census the type of person we are attracted to (big muscles, blonde, tan, really smart guys with glasses-this is for an example and not true as to who my type is, so if you qualify, don’t waste your time. Unless you’re the character Ben from Queer as Folk…)?

This somewhat segues into my next point about race on the census. Obama checked black/African American/negro. Yeah right. Obama is the whitest black person ever-he’s even half white! So, why is he checking this box instead of white or multiracial (which would make most sense)? He’s trying to appeal to the black community as well as any other liberal community (LGBTQ, democrats, lower class) that finds his race appealing and a good reason for him to be President. Now, I don’t really have anything against Obama (I’m a Hilary girl) and I think he’s doing OK as President (well, everyone looks good after Bush) but he needs to stop trying to appeal to an audience of black Americans, like by checking the black race box.

The race box is kind of annoying to me because I am not just “white,” I’m Irish and English and some other European countries. But, how come I do not get to express my heritage and background? Just because I am white I am simply an American and white is my race? Is black a race now? I thought that race was a cultural or geographical heritage or background, not simply the color of our skin. In a couple months when I’m sunburnt, can I check a “red” box?

Or, my great-great-grandmother was Native American, so can I check the Native American box? It seems that the race box is trying to access one’s background and heritage, but the boxes that are on the census do not really determine a person’s culture and upbringing. Obama may be half black and check the black box because that’s what he identifies with, but he is one of the most culturally white-black people ever.

I want to briefly mention the article about LGBTQ people being able to identify their relationship as a marriage in the census, but not legally. The census is allowing people to be very liberal with describing themselves and statuses (as liberal as possible with boxes) which may distort the results. While it is open-minded to be able to allow people to choose their relationship statuses and races based on how they feel they identify them, the results may also be misleading because multiracial people identify themselves as black and two lesbians living together identify as married when they legally are not. The census is taking a scientific, precise way of accounting for every American and making it more illogical and imprecise, which is good in some ways and bad in others.

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Queer Identity in Mainstream Society

Posted in Uncategorized by saimaanika on March 4, 2010

1.)    Get counted! Why the Census is crucial to gays


Summary: This article is my favorite. It is about how a significant amount of people from the LGBT community are not listed in the U.S. Census.  Basically, the census is a list of the races that exist in the U.S. and it is redone every decade.  The queer race does not count, they do not exist, and they do not have identities, according the census not listing them.  They fill out the form, yet they are not included in the census.

2.)    Oklahoma man sues to use “IM GAY” on license plate


Summary: This article is describes an event where a gay man, Keith Kimmel, sued the Oklahoma Tax Commission for not allowing him to have an “IM GAY” license plate.  The Oklahoma Tax Commission refutes by saying that the license plate could affront others in the public. Kimmel wants to express himself and announce his sexuality to the public by putting up this license plate up on his car.  He mentions that others put up derogatory license plates up that presents straight slurs.

3.)    150 same-sex couples seek marriage licenses in DC-


Summary: Today was a wonderful day for the LGBT community and for all the people who support this community because the Washington D.C. became the sixth state in America to allow same-sex marriages matrimony.  One hundred fifty gay couples stood in line in order to retrieve their marriage license.  The gay marriage law was first introduced to the District of Columbia through the D.C. Council back in October of 2009, where it attained almost unanimous voted from the beginning.  After everyone signed by December, it went through a congressional review period until March 2nd, the expiration date and a day that will go down in history as a celebratory and commemorative day for the LGBT community.

Summative Reflection:

I chose this week’s theme to be “Queer Identity in Mainstream Society.”  The gay movement is to attain the rights that everyone is entitled to, especially the rights to express themselves and be accepted as a race in mainstream society.  These articles are about how every queer person is endeavoring to be integrated in to main stream society as individuals who need to express their identity and have a valid identity in society.   I believe that the queer race should have the permission to express their identity grounded, settled, and legitimate before moving on to attaining other rights and such, which they are endeavoring to do, because identity is the most prudent component there is out there because without it, you do not exist.

For example, for the article on the U.S Census, I always felt as if the U.S. Census is basically a map that lists all the races that are recognized, similar to a map, which signifies all the charted masses of lands. The people from LGBT community that are not listed on the census is a substantial race that makes up America and not listing them on the census is much like denying their existence.  In 1990, gays and lesbians finally showed up on the census; however that was by error and the only time that occurred.  Deliberating identifying them on the census would finally and truly integrate them in the U.S. population on paper and in the mind of the U.S. population.

For my article on the “IM GAY” license plates, I ask myself what happened to freedom of expression. Every single person needs to express their identity and gay people are just as entitled to that.  As for the phrase “offending” others, well, I see sexually explicit license plates all the time that truly offend me, what about that? There are license plates out that signify that the driver is straight, such as “STR8FAN.” I feel like this is a total hypocrisy situation, proves even strongly that this country is a country that extols straight people as the supreme, and this behavior should be diminished, pronto!

My last article, which is about the gay marriage law that was ratified today in the District of Columbia, exemplifies the gay movement at its finest.  The gay movement is succeeding to display their true identity to the world by being able to marrying each other, like everyone else can.  It’s a good for the LGBT community and they should cherish and hope that this law remains intact. The queer race has been marginalized for centuries and decades and it is finally time for this community to attain goals. However, there is still a LONG way to go.