Mary Anne Adams can’t wait to paint the front door purple at the 70-year old gray house that sits in Northwest Atlanta.
“Purple is symbolic of lesbian … lesbian life,” she says.
Adams is the executive director of the organization ZAMI NOBLA. It advocates for aging black lesbians. She calls this dwelling the ‘Biggers House.’ And she’s taking applications for an elderly couple on a fixed income to move into the two-bedroom home. Adams says social circumstances and stigma can leave some older lesbians financially unstable.
“A lot of these women are estranged from their families, says Adams. “They never had children, they’ve been underemployed. And so it’s vital that we provide housing.”
Adams says many LGBTQ people have unique housing needs, including homeless youth or those with HIV/AIDS.
That’s why she’s getting the word out about filling out the 2020 Census.
What The Census Decides
Nationally, there are nearly a million same-sex households, according to estimates from the 2018 American Community Survey. About 30,000 of them are in Georgia. For the first time, the Census will give same-sex couples checkboxes on next year’s questionnaire.
Next year, the relationship question on forms will include categories for same-sex spouses and partners.
Lee Badgett is an economist at the University of Massachusetts and a scholar at the Williams Institute. The Institute conducts research on sexual orientation and gender identity. She says it’s important to get this data.
“It’s still helpful to identify which same-sex couples are married. And to know something about them,” says Badgett. “Do they have kids? Where do they live? What’s their income level like? All of that information can inform our decisions about public policy.”