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

Antonella Briotti
Aleana Robins
Carol Burger
Andrew Little
Tony Whelan
Sharon Corvinus- Jones
Gary Lobley
Martina McGrath
Matthew Embleton
Ja Da
Bhushan Joshi
Kate Wood
Nathan Sharp
Helen Barton
Nicki Elkin
Rebecca Madge
Timo Nieuwoudt
Tina Clausen
Bernard Gardiner
Kait Fenwick
Gary Knight
Ellen Holmes
Mitchell Cross
Karen Phillips
Heather Bridgman
Andrew Nielsen
Anna Dann
Faizo Kyabaggu
Amber Cooper
Lisa Rime
1,855 signatures

Will you sign?

  • Antonella Briotti
    signed via 2021-07-30 16:04:10 +1000
  • Aleana Robins
    signed 2021-07-30 16:00:50 +1000
  • Carol Burger
    signed 2021-07-30 15:59:56 +1000
  • Andrew Little
    signed 2021-07-30 15:56:43 +1000
  • Tony Whelan
    signed 2021-07-30 15:46:27 +1000
  • Sharon Corvinus- Jones
    signed 2021-07-30 15:45:50 +1000
  • Gary Lobley
    signed via 2021-07-30 15:45:17 +1000
  • Martina McGrath
    signed 2021-07-30 15:44:32 +1000
  • Matthew Embleton
    signed via 2021-07-30 15:41:24 +1000
  • Ja Da
    signed 2021-07-30 15:41:14 +1000
  • Bhushan Joshi
    signed 2021-07-30 15:40:02 +1000
  • Kate Wood
    signed 2021-07-30 15:38:48 +1000
  • Nathan Sharp
    signed via 2021-07-30 15:36:48 +1000
  • Helen Barton
    signed via 2021-07-30 15:34:16 +1000
  • Nicki Elkin
    signed 2021-07-30 15:33:42 +1000
  • Rebecca Madge
    signed 2021-07-30 15:32:32 +1000
  • Timo Nieuwoudt
    signed 2021-07-30 15:32:00 +1000
  • Tina Clausen
    signed via 2021-07-30 15:30:26 +1000
  • Bernard Gardiner
    signed via 2021-07-30 15:27:40 +1000
  • Kait Fenwick
    signed 2021-07-30 15:24:11 +1000
  • Gary Knight
    signed via 2021-07-30 15:13:49 +1000
  • Ellen Holmes
    signed via 2021-07-30 15:12:00 +1000
  • Mitchell Cross
    signed 2021-07-30 15:08:48 +1000
  • Karen Phillips
    signed via 2021-07-30 14:53:02 +1000
  • Heather Bridgman
    signed 2021-07-30 14:52:16 +1000
  • Andrew Nielsen
    signed via 2021-07-30 14:51:47 +1000
  • Anna Dann
    signed via 2021-07-30 14:46:25 +1000
  • Faizo Kyabaggu
    signed via 2021-07-30 14:45:19 +1000
  • Amber Cooper
    signed 2021-07-30 14:42:31 +1000
  • Lisa Rime
    signed via 2021-07-30 14:41:01 +1000

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