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Australian Census to offer non-binary gender option

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Australia’s Census of Population and Housing will offer participants the option to identify their gender as something other than female or male as of this year.

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From August this year, the compulsory quinquennial survey will offer a non-binary gender option on the form for the first time in its 105 year history. The Australian Bureau of Statistics say that the changes to Australia’s largest statistical collection will now allow participants to write their gender identity on the paper form, or select an ‘other’ option online and specify from there.

Census Data Director Sue Taylor says the ABS have been consulting with LGBTIQ communities and the changes are needed to recognise that sex and gender are no longer seen as purely binary options.

“Community expectations are such that we really need to start thinking about how we are going to enable people to report as they would like to,” Taylor told SBS News.

The ABS have also been liaising with other international census organisations to find the most effective way to be inclusive of all gender identities.

Victorian Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Rowena Allen says the new options are a welcome change after 10 years of advocating for amendments to the Census.

“For me, it’s been a 10-year journey and I know there’ve been a lot of advocates,” Allen said.

“Last time we were told – this is five years ago, or even ten years ago – that it wasn’t doable, that it would be too expensive to do.”

OIP Staff

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