Matt Comer

Heads in the sand

Filed By Matt Comer | January 26, 2010 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: US Census

This year's Census has invigorated activists who believe the U.S. government's decennial count of all citizens should reflect an accurate and inclusive count of the LGBTs in our population. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has taken up an effort to raise awareness with the Census Bureau with an awesome purple sticker and petition.

News of the Task Force's effort reached the folks at the Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank based in North Carolina's capital, Raleigh.

The Civitas Institute is just like any other conservative think tank around the nation. They support and encourage all the usual sorts of right-wing agenda items. They are, first and foremost, anti-anything Obama. They don't like healthcare reform. They can't stand illegal immigrants. They have an absolute love affair with big business and a demented obsession with gay folks.

And like all good, Bible-believing, wife-beating husbands, the Civitas Institute just can't help but jump at the chance to lash out at their submissive victims when they say or do something self-empowering or protective.

Leave it to Civitas Policy Analyst and Outreach Coordinator Jessica Custer to do the finger wagging toward LGBT folks this time. Writing on the Citivas blog, Custer takes issue with the Task Force's census efforts and says LGBTs are being hypocritical.

She writes:

On one hand, the LGBT community demands that sexuality should not be a decisive factor in receiving government benefits, the right to marry or employment. Yet, on the other hand, support a campaign which places a huge emphasis on sexuality and demands a separate "question" entirely. Evidently, stating one's age, DOB, race, sex and residence is not enough.

And as is often the case with staffers of these large black holes of reason and sanity, Custer conveniently forgets about all those times conservatives have used confusion about the size of the LGBT population to further their own goals.

Some LGBTs insist we're a large minority, and some still hold on to Kinsey's 10 percent numbers. Conservatives say we're more like 1 or 2 percent of the population. Several studies place our numbers anywhere between 1 and 6 percent. For conservatives like Custer, the numbers don't matter all that much mainly because they aren't real. And, besides, they've got an argument and response for everything: "The nation shouldn't change its 'values' for the interests of such a small group," they'll say.

Regardless of whatever wacked out arguments conservatives want to use when wailing against an LGBT count in the Census, it's not as if their true feelings aren't already known: No social, civil, legal or religious recognition of LGBT people is acceptable. Taking an official count of us in the Census? That just flies in the face of their world of LGBT invisibility.

If ignoring reality and life is what folks like Custer are really after, why spend so much money maintaining and staffing think tanks like Civitas? It seems to me it'd be much cheaper and much more effective to just stick their heads in the sand and be done with it.


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Conservatives don't want us counted in the census since they've been downplaying our numbers for years - hell, decades.

Another good source for census organizing (and I must admit to thinking that NGLTF rather pulled an HRC since they helped sponsor the group and then did the sticker project branded with their own name instead of the group's), is Our Families Count. The group is, like United ENDA, made up of orgs from around the country working in conjunction on this.