BY Advocate Contributors
March 09 2010 9:15 PM ET
"Surely you jest. Wow! I have never met any of these people." — Republican state senator Dean Kirby upon learning that 55 same-sex couples were counted in his hometown of Jackson, Miss.
Senator Kirby is not unlike many people who are completely unaware of their LGBT neighbors. Many Americans like him should be reminded that we are not invisible. We are, in fact, everywhere. The sad irony is that we remain challenged for the same rights as our fellow Americans.
I am reminded that unbridled hatred of LGBT people exists when I read the news reports of Jorge Steven López Mercado or Lawrence King or Lateisha Green, all brutally murdered at the hands of homophobic killers. I hear stories of couples who were literally left standing at the altar, denied matrimony as Prop. 8 was passed down. Just imagining the cruel twist of fate Martin Gill’s foster boys may face — if the Florida state law that prohibits adoption by gays tears their family apart — galvanizes me into action.
Hate crimes, marriage equality, and adoption rights are just some of the issues making headlines as part of a broader U.S. political debate affecting the LGBT movement.
The Census is a federally authorized course of action that may influence how these issues are debated and laws aew created or amended.
The U.S. Census Bureau wants Americans to return their forms by April 1, designated Census Day. It takes 10 minutes to fill the form out and change the course of our lives for the next decade.
After the forms are returned, and households that did not fill out forms visited by Census takers, the data collected from the Census is analyzed. If we are all counted, the outcome may increase public awareness of our issues, including research and provisions for health care services for people with HIV/AIDS, and public policy on everything from gays and lesbians in the military to raising foster kids and adoption.
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