Glimpses of Equality: Why I Queered the Census
Many of the readers on the Blend 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…).
This 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.
I 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.
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.