Advocates condemn 2021 Census for excluding LGBTQIA+ Australians

Equality advocates have launched a declaration that condemns the upcoming Australian Census for excluding LGBTQIA+ Australians.

just.equal Australia’s declaration, which has already been co-signed by a number of Australian LGBTIQ+ community organisations, says the national Census on August 10th will perpetuate the invisibility of LGBTIQA+ people and make it harder to address the needs of that community, including the provision of health services.

“The Australian Census occurs every five years and provides crucial information about the makeup of the population that helps inform how and where services are delivered to the Australian population,” the declaration reads.

“No Census has ever asked Australians questions on sexual orientation or variations of sex characteristics or whether they are trans or gender diverse.”

“Research shows that LGBTIQA+ Australians experience worse social and economic outcomes than other Australians, with members of these communities reporting difficulties in accessing health, employment and other services because of stigma and discrimination.”

just.equal say the 2021 Census was an opportunity to recognise and understand this population for the first time in order for state, territory and federal governments to better meet their needs, as seen in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Further, they have condemned the Federal Government for ignoring proposals for separate questions on sexual orientation, gender identity and variations of sex characteristics that would have produced useful results.

“The Federal Government’s decision to prevent LGBTIQA+ people from being counted in the Census is an appalling example of outdated prejudice trumping forward-thinking policy,” just.equal spokesperson, Dr Charlie Burton said.

“The Government wants to lock LGBTIQA+ people in a data collection closet, but we refuse to be made invisible and have launched this Declaration to demonstrate our commitment to being treated equally.”

“The Declaration expresses our deep dissatisfaction with the Government’s failure to count LGBTIQA+ Australians in the 2021 Census and sends a clear message that the 2026 Census must include us.”

The group also say the addition of a question about “non-binary sex” in the 2021 Census will not produce any meaningful data.

“In particular, the Declaration sends the message that confusing compromises like ‘non-binary sex’ are no substitute for clear questions about sexual orientation, gender identity and variations of sex characteristics.”

“We urge all members and supporters of the LGBTIQA+ community to sign our Declaration which we will present to ABS and the Government.”

A number of LGBTIQA+ community organisations have already co-signed the Declaration including LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Transgender Victoria, the Queensland Council for LGBTI Health, Working It Out, Equality Tasmania, Meridian, Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland, A Gender Agenda and the Bi Alliance.

You can find the full declaration here.

OIP Staff


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