Richmond Wellbeing CEO calls for LGBTI inclusion in census

Adrian Munro, the CEO of mental health organisation Richmond Wellbeing is calling for the inclusion of diverse sexuality, sex and gender in the 2021 Census.

“We are calling on the Government to change the next census to better reflect our community and include sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status,” Munro said.

“This is not only an important step in making Australia more inclusive but supports our efforts to improve the health outcomes of the LGBTI community.”

Richmond Wellbeing, WA’s first Rainbow Tick accredited organisation, has been supporting mental health recovery in the WA community for over 40 years.

Munro says that inclusion is one of Richmond’s core values, so embracing diversity, respecting and valuing people’s differences, and consistently seeking to support people to realise their full potential as connected and contributing members in the community is extremely important.

Last year the federal government announced it had dropped plans to include information about sexuality and gender in the 2021 census, a decision that has been widely criticised be health organisations who argue the data is needed to provide effective services.

Munro says there is significant work that still needs to be done to make health services safer and more welcoming for the LGBTI community.

“We have so far to go, so we need to listen to the LGBTI community and demonstrate that we acknowledge and value them as part of our society,” he said.

“This can’t occur if we don’t start at the first point, of actually counting them on the census. Historically, we haven’t been listening to the voices of the community to inform how we deliver our services and we haven’t had an inclusive society.

The CEO said the result of this is well documented and includes worse mental health outcomes and higher suicide rates in the LGBTI community.

“At Richmond Wellbeing, we see the evidence of this every day and consider this not only a mental health issue but a broader social justice issue.”

The draft Census and Statistics Amendment (Statistical Information) Regulations 2019 has been released. Its purpose is to amend the Census and Statistics Regulation 2016 to update the list of topics in relation to which the Statistician shall collect statistical information in the 2021 Census.

The draft regulations include the addition of Australian Defence Force service and chronic illness to the list of new topics, but has omitted sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.

The Department of Treasury is holding a consultation process, asking for submissions responding to the draft regulations by Friday 10 January.

To join Richmond Wellbeing in supporting the inclusion of LGBTI people in the 2021 Census, visit the LGBTI Health Alliance website.

Image: Richmond Wellbeing team members Graham Lovelock, Adrian Munro and Michelle Hunter.

Source: Media Release

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