Tennessee same-sex couples data features surprising results

Every 10 years, the federal government wants to know about your household. Censuses have been around since Ancient Egypt and, in this country, since 1790. This data is used, primarily, to help the government decide on congressional districts and program funding.

However, researchers have long used census data to understand demographics, make predictions, and study populations. In the past, researchers were forced to make assumptions about that data to try to count the number of same-sex couples in the United States.

This changed after 1990, when same-sex couples were allowed to describe themselves as “unmarried partners.” The most recent census in 2010 allowed same-sex couples to self-identify as “married” for the first time. Before that, census takers, even if that couple identified as married, changed the information to “unmarried partners.”

Although the laws have changed in many states, and many of those gay couples are actually married, the Census Bureau did not change any same-sex couple’s self-identification. For the first time, gay couples were treated just like every other couple that claimed to be married.

According to the Williams Institute, which studies the census to track the gay population of the United States, there were a total of 10,898 same-sex couples living together in Tennessee in 2010. The nationwide total was 646,464. This represents, statewide, approximately 4.4 couples per thousand households. Unsurprisingly, Tennessee was not the gayest state in the country. That state (if you ignore Washington D.C., with 18 per thousand) was Vermont was 8.4 per thousand.

Nashville led the state with approximately 9.2 per thousand. Two surprising cities that, statistically, have a higher rate than the overall state are Shelbyville with 7.07 per thousand and Red Bank with 9.28 per thousand.

Both Shelbyville and Red Bank are very small towns with less than 20,000 residents. Red Bank is fully enclosed by the city of Chattanooga. Chattanooga has a relatively active gay scene, with several bars and clubs that cater to the area gay population.

Shelbyville, however, is a small town in a sea of small towns. Shelbyville resident Micah Chapman describes Shelbyville as relatively isolated for a gay person.

“There are a few gay people that I know, but I don’t spend time with a lot of them," Chapman says. "There is not much to do up here. We only have two bars.”

For a gay person in Shelbyville, the options are limited and, according to Chapman, “mostly the gay people go to Play Dance Bar.”

“Half of the population here are gay friendly," Chapman says. "But then you have some that would probably harass you if you walked down the street holding hands with another guy.”

This experience and attitude is not unique to Shelbyville. It is clear from the media and national polls that opinions are still divided on gay rights. More opportunities to be visible will continue to aid the gays in both small towns and big cities. Now gay couples, at least, have an opportunity to be visible and for the federal government to recognize them…at least every 10 years.

National Margarita Day

A lot of us have really picked up an interest in tequila and it's no wonder. Its popularity is soaring in the U.S. and doesn't look like it'll be slowing down any time soon. The only contender would probably be whiskey. Meh, but they have their own day. Now, it's National Margarita Day and we put together some of the best margarita recipes around so you can pick one or maybe even all of them to try.

We have a few surprises in there too. Maybe it's not all about tequila but it certainly has a theme going on. Take a look at some of these great tequila brands and start making some amazing margaritas today!

Keep reading Show less
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Gender-Inclusive Universities and Student Privacy

For many students, attending university is a profound, often life-changing, transition. It is often the student’s first time living on their own without parental supervision. This lifestyle is also accompanied by a period of self-discovery, of defining and redefining a sense of personal identity largely independent of the influence of family and friends from home.

For students who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, this rite of passage can also be a deeply empowering one. Indeed, attending university may be the student’s first real opportunity to explore their gender identity in a safe, comfortable, and accepting college.

Keep reading Show less

José Cuervo's Reserva de la Familia agave fields

Disclaimer: My trip was provided courtesy of a press trip but all opinions about the trip and events are my own. Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

I had the opportunity to visit Mexico for an event José Cuervo was putting on, the unveiling of their premium tequila brand, Reserva de la Familia. The trip was all about tequila, how to drink it properly, how to pair it with food, and of course, visiting various points of interest in Guadalajara while tasting tequila along the way.

Keep reading Show less