Our household received our Census survey this week and at first I was excited. This was the first Census to count our kind! Oh goodie! We'd have numbers to back up our claims, numbers collected without influence by political party or agenda.
And then I read it and thought again.
Call me paranoid (it wouldn't be the first time, one of my old nicknames was "Madame Paranoia" and the other "The Safety Queen"), but when I saw that you have to list the names of the people in the house I got a little weirded out.
Obviously, I should read more. The Queer Press will be full of the ramifications and a realistic appraisal of the situation, and I should rely on more rational minds than mine for instruction.
But then there are the old messages in my mind, the ones from being out since 1983, when my then-girlfriend was afraid to sit in front of the window of the lesbian tavern down the street because of past fire-bombings. I remember when anonymous sex among gay men wasn't because it was erotic, but because anyone knowing your name could lead to harassment, job loss, assault, arrest and unintentionally outing yourself to your wife.
I remember when the last privacy law was passed, allowing adults to have sex in their own home without risking arrest for sodomy if the adults were the same gender.
I remember a witch-hunt at a private university, in which almost an entire rowing team was expelled for homosexuality, based on the accusation of another student. Not that the University of Washington Varsity Rowing Team didn't benefit from that--they were infamously Amazonian and major babes--but can you imagine calling home, "umm, Mom, I got kicked out..." after you'd been accepted by a university and made the team?
I remember when queer athletes wouldn't come out, and an Academy Award winner thanking a partner onstage made me cry. I remember worrying about neighbors knowing, my mom-in-law not telling her friends when we had a baby, and another, and a razor blade in our lawn when we celebrated our marriage six years ago.
So it makes me a little nervous to sign on the dotted line announcing our orientation, in a way that goes straight into a government database, for whatever use in the future they choose. My grandparents were Socialists, I know there are lists!
Again, I should get my facts before spilling my guts, but this is my gut reaction--concern.
The up-side is that I think we'll get a whopping sense of how many kids are raised in gay and lesbian households, and determine more accurately the whole ten percent suggestion.
If we all fill it in.
I'd better get informed before April 1st.