LGBTQI+ activists are angry that questions about gender and sexual orientation have been left out of tonight’s national census.
Every five years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) requires every Australian household fill out a census form at exactly the same time to get a picture of the nation as a whole – where we live, what our households look like, do we live alone or in multi-generational families, how much we earn or if we have any religious beliefs.
However, LGBTQI activists have called for a question about sexuality and gender to make it into the census, to gauge how many Aussies identify as being on the queer spectrum.
Anna Brown, the chief executive of Equality Australia, said LGBTQI+ people were essentially being “erased”.
“We remain invisible,” she told news.com.au.
“Without these questions, the once-in-five-year snapshot of the population won’t capture the full diversity of our community.
“It’s a missed opportunity to inform crucial decisions about what services are provided to our communities, and where.”
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Ms Brown said it was “crucial” to have an accurate idea of Australia’s queer community, so that services could meet their “uniques needs”.
She explained that this kind of information could help with all kinds of things, such as prevalence of STIs in certain LGBT communities, chronic health conditions, experiences of violence and greater levels of addiction.
Not to mention it would help develop a greater understanding of the mental health battle people face, with Ms Brown saying LGBT people are five times more likely to attempt suicide, and almost one in two transgender children have attempted suicide.
Ms Brown said it was proving difficult to get an accurate read on the true number of LGBTQI people in Australia, as surveys conducted by universities and other research institutes couldn’t possibly reach every single citizen in the country like the census could.
Prominent Australian drag and reality TV star Courtney Act, teamed up with Equality Australia to slam the government for “counting out” people in the LGBTQI+ community in tonight’s census.