Let’s Queer the Census!

June 28, 2020

The U.S. Census is completed every ten years at the beginning of each decade to determine the population.  Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census 2020 is still moving forward.  You should have already received a letter back in March asking you to complete the census.  It is easy to do and takes only a few minutes by going to https://my2020census.gov/. On the letter you received a Census ID that can be input to pull up your form, but even if you don’t have that letter any more, you can still go to the website and complete your form at https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.html.  Census 2020 can also be completed by phone and by mail.

Originally Census 2020 was going to run through April 1 for folks to self-report, and then U.S. Census workers were going to have another three months to reach out to households where data was missing.  With the onset of COVID-19, and restrictions that applied, timelines changed and now you have until October 31st to self-report or respond to a Census taker in person.

So why do we want you to complete the census?  That is simple – Money and Power! 

Dollars – Billions of dollars are allocated to Virginia based on the data from the U.S. Census.  LGBT+ people, especially those with disabilities, or those who are transgender, are more likely to receive governmental aid.  Public housing assistance, Head Start, SNAP, Medicaid, and other governmental help is all allocated on census data.  If everyone isn’t counted from Virginia, we don’t receive money we should have received.  The U.S. Census means money in the pockets of those that need it!  At least 100 federal spending programs will be impacted by the 2020 Census so make sure you and your family are counted.

Decisions – Decisions about future government programs and allocation of that money, such as additional COVID-19 dollars are going to be based on the 2020 Census.  The results will impact everything from new schools, clinics, and roads, to services for families, older adults, and children.  Decisions by business and other stake holders also are made based on U.S. Census data.  This can impact non-profit programs, as well as business decisions that bring more jobs and opportunity.

Democracy – The 2020 Census will be used to redraw and adjust electoral districts based on whether population has increased or decreased.  If enough citizens aren’t counted it could potentially mean the loss of representation because of a perceived loss in population.  Make sure Virginia is fully counted and fully represented.

Filling out the 2020 Census is simple, but questions are not always well representative of the LGBT+ community.  You will be asked your sex and are only afforded two possibilities, Male and Female.  However, for same-sex couples, some representation will be provided as you can answer that you are a same-sex husband/wife/spouse, or a same-sex unmarried partner.  Better representation on the 2030 Census is possible based partly on the power we gain in completion of the 2020 Census.  Make your voice heard on the census, and then register to vote and make your voice heard at the ballot box in November.

All your responses are completely confidential!  No data can be shared with any other government agency, law enforcement agencies including ICE, or landlords!  Don’t be afraid to complete the 2020 Census!  Your completion of the census can mean so much to Virginia’s citizens!

Find out more at www.2020census.gov, or go to www.queerthecensus.org for more information on why the U.S. Census is important to the LGBT+ community.

For help with in-language materials to go www.censuscounts.org.

About the Author

Maggie Sacra
Maggie Sacra is the Chair of LGBT Democrats of Virginia. She is a founding member, previously serving as Treasurer. She also serves on the Steering Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia, is on the 7th Congressional District Committee, and on the Chesterfield County Democratic Committee. She is a former Chair of the Caroline County Democratic Committee, and extremely proud that the Caroline Committee received the Committee of the Year Award from the DPVA during her time as chairperson.