Op-ed | Take pride in the Census

Julie Menin, director of NYC Census 2020. (File photo)


It’s no exaggeration to say that Pride is different this year. But as we mourn and demand justice for the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor – in addition to Dominique Rem’mie Fells, Tony McDade, and Riah Milton – we’re reminded of what Pride is all about: the fight against police brutality, our basic freedoms, the strength of a united community, and of course, visibility.

And that is why we all must work to ensure that the LGBTQ+ community is counted in the 2020 Census. 

For years, LGBTQ+ communities and Black and brown communities have faced significant undercounts that have left communities without the funding and representation they deserve. As New Yorkers continue the fight against police brutality, for justice in health care, and for investment in our communities, the census is a critical piece of that struggle.

The once-a-decade count will shape the funding and the representation LGBTQ communities will receive for years to come. The census determines funding for programs of the utmost importance to the LGBTQ+ community, including HIV prevention programs, job training, and youth programs. The 2020 Census also determines each state’s share of congressional seats as well as local district lines.

The LGBTQ+ community’s needs to be reflected in Congress and the City Council. A full count is needed so the community’s needs are considered in the policy decisions that affect their futures.

This is also a moment to make history. The 2020 Census is the first time same-sex couples, married or unmarried, with or without children, can be represented in the form. This will be the first true, nationwide accounting of same-sex couples in our history.

Unfortunately, there is still work to be done on other fronts, especially the binary gender option on the census. But everyone must know this question can be skipped entirely. However you answer, even if it doesn’t match with your other forms of identification, your form will be accepted and you will still be counted.

Nevertheless, we know that the form’s lack of an option to proclaim your gender outside of the traditional binary is shameful disservice to LGBTQ+ Americans everywhere. That is why we must all continue the fight to ensure the 2030 Census truly allows for a full representation of who we are.

Remember: your census responses are confidential, protected by law, and can’t be shared with anyone – not your parents, not your landlord, not even other government agencies.  

This year, let’s show the country that New York doesn’t need a party to make Pride count. Go to my2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020 to fill out the census today. 

Making Sense of the Census” is a weekly column from Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census 2020.  Every week we will be publishing pieces from Julie and guest authors laying out the facts and answering tough questions about this year’s census. Fill out the census now at my2020census.gov

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