Australian LGBTIQA+ Community Census Declaration

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The 2021 Census will exclude LGBTIQA+ people. This will perpetuate the invisibility of a significant part of the population.

The addition of three simple questions will solve that, allowing problems like stigma, discrimination and lack of services to be better addressed.

Organisations can add their support and individuals can sign this Declaration which we will present to the Government, the Opposition, Parliament and the Australian Bureau of Statistics before Census Day:

We the undersigned call on the federal government to commit to an inclusive Census in 2026.

In the 2026 Census we want to see 

  • A separate question on sexual orientation
  • A separate question on gender identity
  • A separate question on variations of sex characteristics

Our reasons for this are outlined here:

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. 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.

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. This has already occurred in comparable countries like Canada and the UK to the benefit of LGBTIQA+ people, their families and communities.

But the Federal Government decided the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which runs the Census, would not include questions that have been requested by a range of LGBTIQA+ organisations, and that meet the ABS’s own guidelines on the recognition of sex and gender. These questions would have told us the number of LGBTIQA+ Australians, where they live and what their needs are.

Instead, the ABS only included under ‘sex’ an option to also nominate ‘non-binary sex’. The question will not recognise Australians of diverse sexual orientations or sex characteristics and it cannot meaningfully be answered by the many trans and gender diverse people who do not identify as non-binary. It will therefore not produce any meaningful or valid data about the LGBTIQ+ population.

There is also a risk that, because it is likely only a small number of people will answer the question, the results will be used against the trans and gender diverse population by opponents who will cite the small number of responses to justify continuing discrimination against, and underinvestment in services for, this population.

We are also concerned that the Census in its current form renders many lesbian, gay and bisexual Australians invisible. Currently, the Census allows Australians to indicate if they are in a cohabiting same-sex relationship. However, this does not count same-sex attracted Australians who are not in a relationship, not in a cohabiting relationship, and not in a same-sex relationship. While gathering data on same-sex relationships is useful, it is not a surrogate for gathering data on all LGB Australians.

We condemn the 2021 Census for continuing to render LGBTIQA+ Australians invisible and to make it harder to address the stigma, discrimination and lack of services we experience.

We call on the Federal Government to commit to following its own guidelines on recognition of sex and gender by including in the 2026 Census the best practice questions already developed in consultation with the LGBTIQ+ community.

Organisations can join us, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, Bi Alliance, Working It Out, Meridian ACT, Transgender Victoria, Equality Tasmania, PFLAG Capital Region, Queensland Council of LGBT
I Health, ATSAQ & A Gender Agenda, and add their support by emailing us and providing their logo at [email protected]

Individuals can show their support by joining this declaration:

Who's signing

Jacob Walsh
Sharna Pankhurst
Steve Allen
Amy Neale
Wayne Shephard
Frej Baskeyfield
Ali Challinor
Lyn Godfrey
Sujin Jang
Brodie Green
Jennifer Cossins
Katrina Rice
Apple Jack Freshwater Brown
Shawny Williams
Oliver Minter
Avigale Bischard
Andrew Hobbs
Jaz Bidgood
Peter Grant
Jeremy Kong
Anne Louise Thorbecke
Adam Bold
Rachel Hunt
Jeremy Naylor
Vicki Lambroglou
Kristina Vagala
John Bromley
Douglas Pollard
Liz Grandmaison
Liam Wallace
1,859 signatures

Will you sign?

  • Jacob Walsh
    signed 2021-07-31 16:26:53 +1000
  • Sharna Pankhurst
    signed via 2021-07-31 16:05:45 +1000
  • Steve Allen
    signed 2021-07-31 16:01:12 +1000
  • Amy Neale
    signed 2021-07-31 15:51:59 +1000
  • Wayne Shephard
    signed 2021-07-31 15:49:13 +1000
  • Frej Baskeyfield
    signed 2021-07-31 15:46:46 +1000
  • Ali Challinor
    signed 2021-07-31 15:43:20 +1000
  • Lyn Godfrey
    signed 2021-07-31 15:41:39 +1000
  • Sujin Jang
    signed 2021-07-31 15:40:59 +1000
  • Brodie Green
    signed 2021-07-31 15:37:27 +1000
  • Jennifer Cossins
    signed 2021-07-31 15:33:17 +1000
  • Katrina Rice
    signed 2021-07-31 15:25:27 +1000
  • Apple Jack Freshwater Brown
    signed 2021-07-31 15:23:13 +1000
  • Shawny Williams
    signed 2021-07-31 15:22:22 +1000
  • Oliver Minter
    signed via 2021-07-31 15:17:47 +1000
  • Avigale Bischard
    signed 2021-07-31 15:13:32 +1000
  • Andrew Hobbs
    signed 2021-07-31 15:11:53 +1000
  • Jaz Bidgood
    signed 2021-07-31 15:07:11 +1000
  • Peter Grant
    signed via 2021-07-31 15:05:45 +1000
  • Jeremy Kong
    signed 2021-07-31 15:00:53 +1000
  • Anne Louise Thorbecke
    signed 2021-07-31 15:00:19 +1000
  • Adam Bold
    signed 2021-07-31 14:56:17 +1000
  • Rachel Hunt
    signed 2021-07-31 14:42:54 +1000
  • Jeremy Naylor
    signed via 2021-07-31 14:42:40 +1000
  • Vicki Lambroglou
    signed 2021-07-31 14:33:37 +1000
  • Kristina Vagala
    signed 2021-07-31 14:32:19 +1000
  • John Bromley
    signed 2021-07-31 14:31:40 +1000
  • Douglas Pollard
    signed 2021-07-31 14:27:38 +1000
  • Liz Grandmaison
    signed via 2021-07-31 14:26:28 +1000
  • Liam Wallace
    signed 2021-07-31 14:25:51 +1000

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