LGBTI Health Alliance voices support for more census data

The LGBTI Health Alliance has voiced its support for more census data to be collected about Australian people’s gender identity and sexuality. The health group says insufficient data collection means that the government is not able to adequately supply services to all Australians.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has recently identified sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status for further testing and potential inclusion in the 2021 Census of Population and Housing.

“The meaningful inclusion of data on these topics is most welcomed as there are no other alternative data sources or solutions that could meet these topic needs.

“The current exclusion of appropriate sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status questions in the Census means that clear demographic data of the Australian population is not being captured.” the LGBTI Health Alliance said.

“A number of national health and wellbeing policies, strategies and programs rightly identify LGBTI people as a priority population for action.

“This is due to the ongoing significant health and wellbeing disparities experienced across and within LGBTI communities. This includes for example disproportionate rates of mental health diagnoses, suicidal behaviours, as well as elevated rates of drug and alcohol use, higher rates of HIV and STIs, and a significantly higher cancer burden.

“Discrimination and stigma have a negative impact on accessing high quality and culturally safe community and residential services, for example in aged care, domestic and family violence, homelessness and disability.”

The health group said it was essential that the appropriate questions were asked to ascertain reliable data, which could then be used to ensure the best services were rolled out.

“Asking appropriate questions on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in the Census is crucial in fostering an evidence-informed environment for health and economic policy service planning and understanding health and social service utilisation. This is essential in addressing the significant health disparities that LGBTI people experience.

While the New Zealand government has announced that it’s next census will not have any questions about gender or sexuality, other nations are introducing more questions to get a clearer picture of the population. The upcoming census in the United States, Canada and Britain are looking at how they can ensure they have reliable information about LGBTI citizens.

 

The last Australian census was the first time people have been able to give a more detailed response to gender. The last Australian census showed there were 1,230 transgender people in Australia, the data was deemed to be highly unreliable.

Despite the warning that no conclusions could be drawn from the data is regularly cited by commentators as proof that there are few gender diverse people in the country.

Sky News presenter Peta Credlin regularly quotes the figure when discussion issues affecting people who are transgender. Credlin has also voiced her opposition to more data about sexuality and gender being collated by the ABS.

Graeme Watson


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