OUT IN THE WILD
as part of the American landscape.
Not until the Obama presidency were we taken seriously by any president. Not until Loretta Lynch did we have an attorney general who said to transgender people, “We see you.” But arrive we did, and although it took until 2013, we were recognized mostly as human beings on equal footing with, you know, REAL Americans, like gun owners and violent police.
As such, it would be great if the census would acknowledge us and measure whether we are enjoying an equitable distribution of what society has to offer. As Meghan Maury, Criminal and Economic Justice Project Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force, asked when this story broke, “If the government doesn’t know how many LGBTQ people live in a community, how can it do its job to ensure we’re getting fair and adequate access to the rights, protections and services we need?”
Dare we ask for equality? Not at this time. Since the census bureau is supposed to release the categories it intends to ask about three years ahead of time, that means the George W. Bush administration got to do it last time, President “Defense of Marriage Act” before him and the Reagan administration before that. In all likelihood, we may have to wait until a Democratic administration is in power three years before a census to see if we are allowed to be recorded.
Make no mistake: the debates about bathrooms and marriages and RFRA are to keep us out of the society in which we are not wanted. Society at large may be growing in its respect for us, but we live under a government that supports our demise. The vice president has made it his life’s work to vanquish us. And because he can’t rid his life of us, he aims to make it more difficult for us to live day-to-day.
To be left out of the census is a victory for the people who don’t want to register us as full members of society. In this instance, Pence won and we lost. The federal government gives no shit about you whatsoever.
It is as easy to get distracted now as it was in March, but we shouldn’t forget that behind the loud noises, this administration is packed with people who detest us and have made it their mission to erase us from public life.