Trapped in the box

Jesse Carpender in the latest Marquette Journal:

It’s time for the 2010 census, and there is a national push to make sure every American is accounted for, regardless of age, income, ethnicity, citizenship – but not gender. Sure, most Americans will fill out the survey, checking off  the box for “Male” or “Female” without giving the question a second thought. But for those who identify as transgender, transsexual, genderqueer or any other gender identity that does not fit into either of those boxes, the question is much more complicated.

See a sample of the census at . Mark ONE box. Capitalized and bolded as if to specifically exclude those who would choose neither box, both, or their own named gender identity such as genderqueer. Trans people are forced to identify themselves as male or female. Also, those who do not conform to society’s expected gender expression of Male or Female are left with no method of identifying themselves.Why does everyone have to fit  into ONE box?A publication by the National Center for Transgender Equality states that “there will be no way to use the census data to estimate the number of transgender people in the United States,” rendering transgender Americans statistically invisible.Unfortunately, the census questions are decided two years in advance and cannot be changed. Trans people are encouraged to choose the box that best applies to them.

Encourage sensitivity to gender and gender expression in the 2020 census. Click here for more information on how the 2010 census affects transgendered people.


One Response

  1. I thought that Male and Female were the identifiers for genetic sex not societal expectations of gender.

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