Upstate NY newspaper runs trans-tastic series

A view of Downtown Albany from the Hudson River

My college town newspaper, the Albany Times Union, is running an awesome series of articles about the transgender community this week that I wanted to share.

When I was in school, the Times Union was the conservative newspaper and the now-gone Knickerbocker News was the liberal paper. But the surviving paper knows its audience and Albany is liberal. No, that should read LIBERAL.

This whole series is worth a read. But not only are the articles good, so are the comments. The biggest complaint is that the LGBT community is getting too much coverage. Imagine that in the local Dallas newspaper. I expect more negative comments right here in a Texas LGBT newspaper than an Upstate New York mainstream paper is getting.

Here’s an article filled with statistics. They claim more than 8 million LGBs in the U.S. and 700,000 transgenders. There’s no census count so I’m not sure where the numbers come from.

Here’s the main page — Transgender: A Special Report. The online version begins with 75+ photos.

People just know me as Pat

The long, difficult journey of how a man became a woman

Surgery, pain, humor and no turning back

Going from Kenny to Kym was no easy road

For Drew, nothing is written

‘I like my fluid identity’

A little about Albany

Albany is a small city of about 100,000 people. The capital of New York, it’s about 150 miles north of New York City, north of the Catskills, south of the Adirondacks and where the Mohawk River empties into the Hudson River. Where the northbound New York State Thruway makes a sharp left turn to head west to Buffalo — giving the city its nickname — the armpit of New York.

Oh, and Albany is a very liberal city. So it’s not surprising they’d run this series. I just don’t know when another mainstream daily has devoted this much space at one time to transgender issues.

Albany is home to the first LGBT community center ever created in the country. Located in a brownstone a few blocks the Capitol, it’s now called the Capital Pride Center. The building was purchased in 1974 by a professor at my school and a group of us helped renovate the building. That was the first time I ever helped build stairs. Hopefully they’ve been rebuilt since then.

And Sen. Gillibrand — who represented Albany before becoming senator — was a leader in getting rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and pushed for marriage equality along with Governor Andrew Cuomo.

—  David Taffet

Census bureau releases new same-sex couple stats and straight marriage, divorce stats

The Census Bureau released a massive new report with new statistics about same-sex couples and heterosexual marriage and divorce. The report includes hundreds of charts of raw data with no analysis. Here’s some analysis:

The bureau reports 6,502,121 “unmarried-partner households.” Of those, 280,410 are “male householder, male partner” and 300,890 are “female householder, female partner.”

That terminology is confusing because those numbers include all those same-sex households of people who actually live in places like Massachusetts and are legally married. But the census bureau was prevented from actually asking that question directly and is projecting the numbers from the way people answered.

Analysis: The census severely under-counted same-sex households. And total number of gays and lesbians? They didn’t even try.

More analysis: The divorce figures disprove that allowing same-sex couples to marry will destroy marriage. Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate at 2.2 per 1,000 population. Second is Iowa with 2.4.

The Texas divorce rate declined from 5.5 per 1,000 population in 1990 to 4.0 in 2000 to 3.3 in 2009. That compares to a national figure of 3.4.

The states with the highest divorce rates were Nevada 6.7, which was a decline from 11.4 in 1990, Arkansas at 5.7 and West Virginia and Wyoming at 5.2.

The decline in the Texas divorce rate, however, may be linked to the decline in marriage in Texas. Despite having about 10 million more people living in the state since the 1980s, the number of total annual marriages in 2009 only rose by about 1,000.

Analysis: Lots more gays and lesbians have come out over the past 20 years. Don’t know why the straight people who are left are less likely to marry. Marriage equality opponents may pick up on the stat to “prove” that marriage equality is destroying “traditional” marriage.

One marriage statistic is confusing and unexplained —”People who got married, and divorced in the past 12 months by state, 2009.”

In Massachusetts, 41,000 men married and 40,000 women married, while 20,000 men divorced and 20,000 women divorced. The difference in the marriage stat can be accounted for with same-sex marriages. The divorce stat indicates that it’s straight people getting divorced, not gays and lesbians.

However, in Texas that year, 202,000 men married and 195,000 women married.

Analysis: That number either includes 7,000 same-sex marriages performed in other states or countries that have marriage equality, which the census bureau claimed they weren’t counting in marriage stats, or 7,000 Texas women didn’t know they got married or 7,000 men think they did.

—  David Taffet

CHART: The 30 gayest cities in Texas (revised)

A while back we told you how the estimated number of same-sex couples in Texas had gone way down — not because they’re all getting divorced right under AG Greg Abbott’s nose, but due to issues with 2010 Census forms.

When the Census Bureau released its revised (or “preferred”) estimates from the biennial survey last month, the number of same-sex couples in Texas dropped by about 21,000 statewide, or more than 30 percent.

Until today, though, we didn’t fully know how the revised estimates would break down for cities and counties across the state. But thanks to UCLA’s Williams Institute, we now have those figures, too.

As you can see in the chart at right (click to enlarge), despite losing a total of more than 1,000 same-sex couples under the revised estimates, Dallas remains the city with the highest rate in Texas. And Travis County remains the county with the highest rate of hitched gays (Dallas County is No. 2).

You can check out the Williams’ Institutes full report on the revised statistics for Texas here, or view a press release after the jump.

So which city was the biggest loser for same-sex couples under the revised estimates? That would take some figuring, but it might just be Hutto, a small town east of Round Rock in Williamson County. Under the old estimates, Hutto was No. 7 in the state for most same-sex couples per 1,000 households. Under the new ones, it’s nowhere in the top 85. Oops.

—  John Wright

The 25 gayest cities in Texas

We’re still working to get in touch with demographer Gary Gates of UCLA’s Williams Institute, the guru of all things gay and Census, to go over those freshly released data on same-sex couples in Texas. Gates says via email that he’s been slammed with media calls all morning and will get back to us as soon as he can. In the meantime, he sent over another tidbit in the form of an Excel spreadsheet listing all cities in Texas ranked according to the rate of same-sex couples per 1,000 households. As we mentioned earlier, Dallas has the highest rate of same-sex couples in the state, followed by Galveston and Austin. The list, which we’ve posted below, contains some major surprises — with cities like Hutto and Jollyville appearing in the top 10, for example. And yes, this does go to show that we are everywhere, but also keep in mind that the cities are ranked according to rate per 1,000 households. So, while Houston has the highest total number of same-sex couples (8,290), it has a much larger population than Dallas and therefore a lower rate. Also, my headline is deliberately misleading because the Census doesn’t count single gays. And in case you’re wondering, the city with the lowest rate of same-sex couples in Texas is College Station, with 131 or 3.74 per 1,000 households. Stay tuned for more as soon as we’re able to talk to Gates.

Check out the top 25:

—  John Wright

Census Result: New York Likely To Lose Two U.S. House Seats, Florida Gains Two

One of most important aspects of the U.S. Census is the resulting reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives. While many of the changes will go as expected, a just-released new estimate suggests a couple of changes that were not.

A new estimate of House reapportionment gains and losses resulting from this year’s Census reveals a larger-than-expected impact on Florida and New York. According to Washington-based Election Data Services, which reviewed new Census data from a private-sector demographic firm, Florida would gain two House seats and New York would lose two seats. They would join two other states that already were projected to have multiple-seat changes.

Based on the tentative Census data, Texas is expected to gain four House seats and Ohio likely will lose two seats. According to the EDS estimate, six other states each would gain one seat: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. Eight states would each lose one seat: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In addition to the Florida and New York changes, the other major switch in the projected reapportionment is that Missouri will lose a House seat instead of Minnesota.

The formal Census report will be issued in December. Reapportioning becomes effective with the 2012 elections.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Census Will Miss Some Gay Couples

CENSUS 2010 X390 (2010.CENSUS.GOV) | ADVOCATE.COMA new survey finds that while 99% of same-sex couples participated in
this year’s Census, one in seven won’t be identified as such in its findings.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Four days to send in your census

Want to avoid a visit from your local, friendly enumerator and save the government money? Send in your damn census form.

Census BureauIt’s fast. (10 simple questions like … your name)

It’s easy. (10 simple questions like … your name)

It’s mandated by the constitution (for all you conspiracy theorists who are sure there are ulterior motives. If there are, Jefferson and Madison are the enemies of homeland security in this case)

It’s going to happen, whether you decide to participate or not. If you decide not to, an enumerator will come knocking at your door. And when you don’t answer, he or she will come again and again and again and again and again and again. Seven times. And then start knocking on your neighbors’ doors and ask questions about your household. Now THAT’S annoying and invasive and intrusive and a waste of time and money.

So send it in by this weekend and comply with the U.S. constitution. No information about individuals can be shared with other agencies. Not immigration. Not the IRS. No one. Just raw data will be released.

Oh, and if you want to be counted as a gay or lesbian couple, mark “married” or “unmarried partners.” You’ll be counted when both of you answer one of those difficult questions (Sex: __M or __F) as both the same.

—  David Taffet

Some census facts … and another reminder

census2010The 2010 Census is the 23rd since the nation’s inception. The census has been conducted in the United States every decade since 1790, as required by Article 1, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution.

· The 10 questions posed in today’s census aren’t very different from the six questions posed in the 1790 Census, except this time they aren’t asking how many slaves you own.

· Thomas Jefferson was the first director of what would become the Census Bureau; James Madison developed five of the six questions posed in the first census.

· The U.S. Census was the first census used to determine political representation for communities. Previous censuses — going back to Biblical times — were used mainly for tax-collection and conscription for labor and soldiers.

· Federal law prohibits the Census Bureau from sharing its information with any other agencies, including the IRS and Immigration.

· It’s a legal obligation to complete your Census form, but it’s also your civic duty. And by completing your form and mailing it back, you’re saving the government money — it costs the U.S. government 44 cents if you mail back your form. If you don’t, the government spends an average of $57 for each house to hire temporary workers to visit your house to get the information.

So if you haven’t already done so, mail in your damn form! It takes 3 minutes to fill out! If you did not receive a form, call 866-872-6868.

—  David Taffet

Happy Census Day

2010 Census Logo

About half of all census forms have been returned nationwide.

And who’s lagging the country in complying? Texas, of course, Dallas is particularly bad. Yes, our bitch-about-federal-spending culture will help cost the federal government $1.5 billion when enumerators are sent out to count those who refuse to send in their forms.

So if you haven’t done so yet, send in your damn form. It takes about 3 minutes to fill out. Postage is paid. And for you Tea Party-Glenn Beck protesters, it IS in the constitution. And they’re due today.

The census is easy this year. It’s the shortest census form in more than 100 years. The questions are easy. No research required. But here are some examples of what has been asked in the past:

In 2000, if you got the “long form” it was 38 pages with questions that required some research. Like how much did you spend on electricity last year? And gas? You had to go through your bills and checkbook to figure it out. And they wanted the answer to the exact dollar.

This year — no long forms.

—  David Taffet

April 1 is Census Day

Census Bureau

Tomorrow is Census Day. Remember to return your census forms. If you are in a relationship, mark either married or unmarried partner to be counted as a same-sex couple.

To celebrate Census Day, here’s a history of the census figures in Dallas with a Dallas timeline to put the population numbers into some perspective.

Population of the city of Dallas

1841 Dallas founded by John Neely Bryan. (His log cabin is downtown). Population: 1

1849: Dallas Snag (later renamed Dallas Herald) begins publishing

1850 Population 163

1850: Town of Dallas selected county seat of Dallas County

1856: Dallas incorporated as a city

1860 Population 678

1867: First church built in Dallas (by Disciples of Christ)

1870 Population about 3,000

This number comes from several sources but I cannot find why an actual census was not taken in Dallas in 1870.

1872: Sanger Brothers opened first store

1880 Population 10,385

1885: Dallas Morning News begins publishing

1890 Population 38,067

Only time Dallas ranked as the most populous city in Texas

1892: Old Red completed

1894: Parkland Hospital opens on Maple Ave at Oak Lawn.

—  David Taffet