As the first round of data from the 2021 Census is analysed for essential insight into the Australian population, we remain in the dark about lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex, queer and other sexuality and bodily diverse (LGBTIQ+) Australians.
Despite a campaign with the support of over 100 peak bodies, health experts, and community organisations to include variables on sex, gender, sexual orientation and variations of sex characteristics the 2021 census went ahead without them.
Nicky Bath, (she/her) CEO of LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, the national peak health organisation for LGBTIQ+ health said, “Had appropriate questions been included in the 2021 Census, today we would have access to a whole range of data that we urgently need to be able to better respond to the health disparities that LGBTIQ+ people live with.”
The Census is Australia’s only tool with population level data that gives insight into the cultural, social and economic picture of Australians and is critical information to assist in planning now and into the future. For the first time this Census data includes information on long term health conditions including mental health. Had LGBTIQ+ variables been included in the data, we would have access to much needed data to assist with planning and where to focus investment in mental health services and in building the capacity of the mental health sector to work with LGBTIQ+ people.
Nicky Bath continues, “We cannot change the past, we can change the future and today I call on the Federal Government to ensure that in 2027 when the data is released from the 2026 Census that the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Statistics Standard for Sex, Gender, Variation of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation Variables, 2020 (2020 Standard) is included.”
Nicky Bath concluded, “Other countries are moving to include LGBTIQ+ people in their Censuses, they recognise that this information is urgently needed and is appropriate to ask. Australia must follow these examples of leadership and include LGBTIQ+ people in 2026”.
Nicky Bath, Chief Executive Officer
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