Jason Tseng

Exclusive: George Takei & Christine Quinn on the 2010 census

Filed By Jason Tseng | April 05, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Christine Quinn, gay census, George Takei, LGBT community, love is love, US Census

The US Census Bureau announced a series of public service announcements targeted at the LGBT community today at a press conference at the New York City LGBT Community Center. New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and George Takei were the headliners for the event. census.pngQuinn spoke adamantly on the importance of Census participation by New Yorkers not only for the reasons of acquiring the requisite federal funding but also to maintain the number of representatives New York receives in the House.

When questioned on how the Census will address non-married queer folk in the future, Quinn noted that the fact that same-sex spouses being recognized was already a huge leap for the Census. While I think it is odd to start counting gay married people before your start counting gay people is a bit backwards and a shade assimilationist, I can see how the legal ramifications of these relationships needing to be counted in the districts which recognize them.

The stars of the press conference, however, was clearly husbands George Takei and Brad Altman who recorded a message earlier with the Love is Love Project encouraging same sex couples to respond accordingly to the Census.

Catch exclusive video of the event after the jump:

The indelible Takei spoke on the experience with his usual remarkably crisp enunciation about how he and Brad wanted to make sure that other same-sex couples took notice of the Census, so they donned Starfleet uniforms and tin-foil hats to get our attention. I continue to think Takei and Altman are an adorable couple and have done a great job getting the word out about queering the Census.

I also love the idea that George Takei keeps a spare Starfleet uniform in his closet in case of emergencies. He was the captain of the USS Excelsior, after all.

Additionally catch a playlist of the Census Queer PSAs below, featuring a few projectors:

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Counting the number of married people makes sense. It's a concrete number, a meaningful statistic.

On the other hand, counting the number of "gay" and "lesbian" people strikes me as impossible. There's too much disagreement over what the words mean, too many reasons for queer people to be reluctant to give information about their sexual activities to the government, too many reasons why people don't tell the truth about their sex lives in general.

I can't imagine getting an accurate count, even if we all agreed on what we were counting.

I was there today, and I got ask a question about transpeople and the census, the same one I've raised here about the wisdom of providing the federal government more information about us when they're already outing us to our employers as a matter of policy. You can see the full event here on GLAAD's blog (my question comes at about 19:50 in).

There was a lot of interest in my question as a potential reason why transfolks are reluctant to participate in the Census, and many business cards were exchanged. I think I may have done some accidental education, and at least I gave NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn an opening to mention GENDA.

The other question I had that I wish someone had asked (there was only time for one each) was why they waited until after the Census return date had already passed to start promoting it to the community. Basically, I wonder why this press conference was being held on April 5th instead of January 5th or February 5th. Maybe if they had they'd have a better response rate now.

The census should just have write-in boxes for everything.