We all know that voting and representation are vital to ensuring the safety, health, and equity of any marginalized community. Today marks the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act which sought to end racial discrimination in voting access, and yet voting rights have been under attack in states across the country. In these states, registration among communities of color has fallen, and the laws put in place to restrict voting access disproportionately affect trans and nonbinary individuals. These attacks on access to our democratic process leave our community behind.
For far too many in our community fighting for democratic participation and representation looks like standing in line for hours just to cast a ballot. A part of that fight must also look like each of us completing the Census. When our people are missing from the Census, resources and political power for our communities get assigned to elsewhere, typically somewhere that already has more money, more privilege, and more power.
Filling out the Census is easy, safe, and foundational to our democracy. When you fill out the 2020 Census, you’re helping to bring affordable health care, housing, and democratic representation to your community. Just 10 minutes can change the next 10 years of our lived experience.
While the Census does not include specific questions about sexual orientation, 2020 is the first year that same-sex partnerships are included as a relationship option on the Census form.
Gender is still a required question and options are limited to “male” or “female.” While it’s awful that our non-binary community members, like myself, aren’t reflected on this Census, it’s still vital to be counted. If you or someone in your household identifies outside of the gender binary, it is important to ensure you are still counted and that will mean selecting a gender that isn’t correct for you but that is needed to ensure a proper count and representation.
COVID-19 and the recent announcement that the data collection time is being shortened by one month threaten the accuracy of population data and in turn damage the distribution of political representation and federal funding for the next decade. It is up to each of us to ensure we complete the Census. Please remind your friends and family about what’s at stake and ensure that they too are counted. If we can ensure that each of us are counted and that each of us vote in the upcoming election, then Together We Rise.
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride
P.S. Register to be a Pride volunteer and you can help with our upcoming nonpartisan LGBTQ community voter turnout efforts this fall!
Fill out your 2020 Census here.