Once every decade, the United States federal government attempts to count the nation’s population in the Census. The 2020 Census data will also be used to determine how more than $675 billion in federal funds will be distributed to the states each year to support a wide variety of vital health and support services. The data collected in the Census is also vital to our country’s democracy and political representation. Undercounts on the Census can lead to inaccurate and skewed representation in the federal, state, and local governments that set policies and guidance that can directly affect the health and well-being of LGBTQ Americans.
As such, it is critically important that LGBTQ Massachusetts residents participate and be counted in the 2020 Census. Amidst the global COVID-19 crisis, the timeline for completing the 2020 Census has been extended through October. That means that you still have plenty of time to complete the Census, and for the LGBTQ community, there is no better time to make sure that you are counted than during Pride month!
The National LGBTQ Task Force is hosting a very special Census Week of Action at the end of June and you are invited to participate! For five days, starting June 22nd and running through June 26th, LGBTQ individuals and organizations are invited to take action to share the many ways in which we all count and how each one of us deserves to be counted. Below are the days and how you can get involved:
Monday 6/22: Census 101 and Why The Census Matters to LGBTQ People
It is important to educate our community and engage in discussions about why the Census matters. Get involved by participating in the “I #QueerTheCensus because” social media campaign. Share on social media why you’re filling out the Census with the goal of educating others about the many reasons why the Census is important. For example, you can share, “I #QueerTheCensus because I rely on public transportation and Census data is used to help design bus routes.” Make sure to share social media posts with the hashtags #QueerTheCensus, #QTC, and #BeYouBeCounted.
Tuesday 6/23: Taking The Census
This year, the Census has taken some steps forward when it comes to LGBTQ people being counted. Same-sex relationships can now be identified in a single question. Unfortunately, the Census still does not have options for accurately capturing transgender and non-binary identities. For some, the logistics around filling out the Census might be overwhelming and confusing. On this day, you can get involved by sharing your story about your experience filling out the Census to help others understand the process. Do you have any advice for filling out the Census, especially the binary sex question? Were there any unexpected challenges? Share your stories on social media using the hashtags to help others fill out their forms!
Wednesday 6/24: Census and Your Community
There is a lot at stake for your local community tied to the 2020 Census. For the next ten years levels of government and nonprofit funding, school districts and school funding, city planning, government representation, and so much more will be based on numbers from the 2020 Census. Share a fact you found out about your state and how it’s tied to the Census from the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Census fact sheets here.
Thursday 6/25: Census and the Future Haiku
Given the wide range of funding, programs, and democracy initiatives that are impacted by the outcome of the 2020 Census, on this day you can get involved by imagining the next ten years and what it could look like if we achieved a fair and accurate count. Imagine schools with efficient student-to-teacher ratios, SNAP benefits that will ensure no person goes hungry, and comprehensive healthcare and social services for all who need them. You are encouraged to write a poem using the haiku format of three lines, 17 syllables to share what this future would look like to you. Share your haiku on social media using the hashtags #QueerTheCensus #BeYouBeCounted #QTC.
Friday 6/26: I Dance Because I Count
As the Pride Week of Action comes to an end, come celebrate virtually with your community! Thank you for taking part in this week of action and ensuring that you and your fellow LGBTQ peers are being counted in the Census. Though Prides across the globe have been canceled, we’re still in the Pride month spirit and we’re going to dance to celebrate! To get involved, pick a song from the National LGBTQ Taskforce’s Census playlist and make a home video dancing to the beat of your own drum. Make sure to use the hashtag #BeYouBeCounted and tag the National LGBTQ Task Force in your post. The Task Force will be showcasing all the wonderful LGBTQ+ people who have been counted in this year’s Census and why that’s a reason to celebrate! We hope you can join us for this week of action!