While China decriminalised homosexuality in 1997, their LGBTQ+ population is still fighting to be seen.
The country’s census collection is officially underway, having started on 1 November.
The National Bureau of Statistics informed Reuters that any additional information that didn’t conform to the census’s pre-existing categories or typical responses for “relationship to head of household” category would not be formally recorded.
In retaliation to the pre-existing categories on the census, same-sex couples are protesting online and are urging other LGBTQ+ partners living together to tell census takers: “They are not my roommate, they are my partner.”
Peng Yanzi is the director of LGBTQ+ Rights Advocacy China and is the NGO behind the campaign. He told Reuters that he hopes same-sex couples will be able to gain visibility in the society around them and by the government. Yanzi emphasised the point, that regardless of sexuality, they too “are a part of China’s population.”
“These census takers may have never met, or even heard of, gay people, so if we have the opportunity to talk to them, they can better understand the LGBTQ+ community,” he said.