So. United Way has posted the "first ever web-based census and needs assessment" of Broward's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, 'and questioning' community." They put a poll up at www.lgbtcensus.com on June 21 that they say takes about 15 minutes to answer, but I've completed the survey and I can tell you this is one time-consuming little exercise, full of metaphysical potholes and ethical mazes, not to mention lots of little boxes that require check marks.
United Way says the resulting data, collected over the next couple of months, will be used to:
*Increase the awareness of the needs of the LGBTQ Community.
*Affect public policy on quality of life issues.
*Identify gaps in services for the LGBTQ Community.
*Provide resources for program development and funding for the LGBTQ Community.
...and just generally improve our quality of life in Broward. I believe them, and I want to encourage everybody to take the survey (and please tell the truth; it would really suck if this got deliberately skewed). But I have to warn you that there are some brain twisters among the questions. Take numbers 3 and 4:
3. What sex were you born?
4. What is your gender? Please describe.
Entire women's studies libraries have been written to help me answer that second question, and I still have no definitive answer. Don't the survey writers know that gender is an arbitrary social distinction with no intrinsic meaning whatsoever? Did they never attend graduate school in literary theory?
Or, question 6: "Who are you attracted to sexually?"
Why is there no check box for "Self"??
Then there are the recurring guilt questions, designed to make most of us feel as selfish and lazy as our Moms always said we were: #12 "How much did you donate to a political candidate or political organization last year?" And also #30 and #31, same question for non-profits and charities. Um.... When the truly pressing issue is the money I "donated" to Whole Foods.
I was also stumped by #19: "What is your current relationship status?"
*committed/partnered and have sex only with my partner
*committed/partnered and have sex with other people
*married (same or opposite sex)
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How come everybody except the "committed/partnered" people get a total pass on whether or not they fool around? And why is there no category for "partnered/and have lesbian bed-death"?
On the other hand I love that they included "Paganism" under the "Religious affiliation" category. An enthusiastic check mark!
As for the "substance abuse" questions -- clearly everybody is having way more fun than me. But at least I was able to skip several pages of depressing "physical violence" categories.
Cool that the survey ended on #69. We do have our priorities.