We’re part of China’s population’: LGBT couples seek recognition in census

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11/09/2020

She told the young man, one of 7 million conducting China’s once-in-a-decade census, that she and her girlfriend lived together. Where the questionnaire asked for “relationship to head of household,” the man ticked the box for “other” and wrote “couple.” The interaction with the receptive census taker was affirming, Lauren told Reuters, even if the handwritten note may not be reflected in the final results. Lauren asked to be identified by only her first name due to the sensitive nature of LGBT issues in China. China decriminalised homosexuality in 1997, but activists are still fighting for the legalisation of same-sex marriage. As the world’s most populous country attempts to capture demographic shifts, some LGBT couples are seeking recognition in the national census. The information collection officially began on Nov. 1, with preliminary surveys underway in the weeks prior. The National Bureau of Statistics told Reuters that any additional information beyond the predefined responses for the “relationship to head of household” category would not be recorded. Shortly after that mid-October census visit, Lauren saw on her social feed posters urging same-sex couples to tell census takers: “They are not my roommate, they are my partner.”

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