This year will be the first time the Census will report on the number of gay couples in the country: a huge step for LGBT activists. However, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force wants to take that recognition a step further. Though the Census will report on gay couples, it will not count single gays and lesbians as such. NGLTF Policy Director Jaime Grant told the Daily News, "I thought, this is going to ring so hollow to our community. Many of us are not married. Many of us are not partnered."
As a part of their "Queer the Census" campaign, the NGLTF has been giving out free stickers with which to seal the Census forms (due tomorrow). They let citizens define themselves as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or A Straight Ally." Over 10,000 stickers have been sent to various city organizations so far, and Grant said she has been told officials are taking note of the campaign.
However, the Census Bureau has a lot more data to deal with than just the nation's homosexual population. Many Census workers are trying to figure out how to define "homelessness" in an economy that has many people crashing on friend's couches, squatting in foreclosed homes or moving back in with their parents. According to the Seattle Times, the Bureau is calling it "people temporarily experiencing homelessness," and for the first time enumerators will attempt to count people living out of vehicles.
While both the NGLTF and the nation's "temporary homeless" are fighting to be counted, there are also those who wish to remain invisible. According to the New York Times, "anti-government activists" (many self-proclaimed Tea Party members), have been encouraging a partial boycott of the census, telling people to put down only how many people are living in their household. One boycott website claims, "Nosy Census bureaucrats have no business asking all these questions." As of last week, only 16% of the forms in the city had been sent back, compared to 29% nationally.