Waymon Hudson

Glimpses of Equality: Why I Queered the Census

Filed By Waymon Hudson | April 02, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: marriage, queer the census, same-sex couples, US Census

Many of the readers on Bilerico know that my partner, Anthony Niedwiecki, and I were married in California before Prop 8 passed and became one of the 18,000 limited edition gay couples grandfathered in to marriage equality. I posted about the entire experience, from our initial decision to marry in California to the wedding day itself. I even blogged about our honeymoon (well, parts of it...).

CIMG1894.JPGThis is a very personal fight to me. Our wedding day in California was one of the most special days in my life. It felt like the entire city was congratulating us everywhere we went. While my husband and I have been together for many years (and have our civil union from Vermont and shared a commitment ceremony with our families- the "rainbow marriage tour" as our loved ones call it), California was something special for us. It was a special day for our family.

And it's why I got a special thrill out of marking HUSBAND in the relationship box on the Census.

That's also why I decided to "Queer the Census". While the bright pink stickers may not have been perfect (our community self-identifies in so many different ways) or might not even be noticed by those opening the envelope, it meant something to me to be visible and be proud of our relationship and our family.

CIMG1890.JPGI think that living in a state like Florida, that is hostile to LGBT people on so many levels, only makes it more important to be visible. Since we live in a state that doesn't recognize marriage for same-sex couples, it was important for us to make sure our government counted us as we wanted to be counted. We may be strangers in the eyes of the law of our state, but that's not how we chose to be counted.

smile-thumb-200x277.jpgWe are married. We are gay. We are proud.

When so many forms require us to mark "single" (I'm looking at you, IRS tax forms!), this small act was really something special to me- a glimpse at a part of the equality we are fighting for.

Little moments like that help keep me fighting when the march for equality gets rough. And it gets rough a lot.

Marriage Equality may not be the fight everyone in our community wants to get involved in, but we should all value and respect each other's relationships. However you choose to identify your family, I hope you all take the chance to do it on the census.

And I hope it feels as good for you as it did for me.


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R. Conrad | April 2, 2010 1:26 PM

if the federal government was currently being run by palin and mccain (or reagan or bush etc...) would you still want to hand over a giant list of names and address of all the gays in the country?

i think queering the census is an awful, ahistorical, shortsighted idea that is really just an extension of the national gay marriage campaign.

in the words of the most sassy and smart fag i've had the pleasure to read, michel foucault: "visibility is the first step to control." i think some vague notion of "visibility" via a government run counting game might not be the most productive or useful visibility worth putting energy into...

SammySeattle | April 2, 2010 2:51 PM

Visibility is the first step to empowerment. Very little help is found coming from the closet.

Bill Vayens | April 2, 2010 4:25 PM

I have always loved the "limited edition gay couple" moniker! It fits you to a "t". I feel like there should be action figures of the two of you!

Wow. I didn't know those stickers were so big.

The internet does them no justice.

Beautiful pics of a beautiful couple.

Hello my friend, as usaul another great blog post.

Task Force were out of stickers, so, had to get creative and decided to make my own. I typed it out, had it printed on PINK paper even made fifty copies for friends. Simply slipped it in with our Census forms, to make a point that my partner, and I, are here, queer and should be counted. Even though I know will end up in shredder or trash, felt it was important to be visible. Now just waiting for Census police to show-up at my door. LOL

In Pride, UNity & Full Equality