Media Release
Friday July 30th
"The Government wants to lock LGBTIQA+ people in a data collection closet, but we refuse to be made invisible and have launched this Declaration to demonstrate our commitment to being treated equally." - Dr Charlie Burton
Equality advocates have launched a declaration that condemns the upcoming Australian Census for making LGBTIQA+ people invisible and have called on those people who agree to sign on.
Just.Equal Australia’s declaration, which has already been co-signed by a number of Australian LGBTIQ+ community organisations, says the national Census on August 10th will perpetuate the invisibility of LGBTIQA+ people and make it harder to address the needs of that community, including the provision of health services.
The group says the addition of a question about non-binary sex in the 2021 Census will not produce any meaningful data.
Further, it has condemned the Federal Government for ignoring proposals for separate questions on sexual orientation, gender identity and variations of sex characteristics that would have produced useful results.
Just.equal spokesperson, Dr Charlie Burton said,
“The Federal Government’s decision to prevent LGBTIQA+ people from being counted in the Census is an appalling example of outdated prejudice trumping forward-thinking policy."
"The Government wants to lock LGBTIQA+ people in a data collection closet, but we refuse to be made invisible and have launched this Declaration to demonstrate our commitment to being treated equally."
“The Declaration expresses our deep dissatisfaction with the Government’s failure to count LGBTIQA+ Australians in the 2021 Census and sends a clear message that the 2026 Census must include us.”
“In particular, the Declaration sends the message that confusing compromises like ‘non-binary sex’ are no substitute for clear questions about sexual orientation, gender identity and variations of sex characteristics.”
“We urge all members and supporters of the LGBTIQA+ community to sign our Declaration which we will present to ABS and the Government.”
A number of LGBTIQA+ community organisations have already co-signed the Declaration including LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Transgender Victoria, the Queensland Council for LGBTI Health, Working It Out, Equality Tasmania, Meridian, Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland, A Gender Agenda and the Bi Alliance.  
A copy of the Census Declaration is included below.
To sign it go to
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Dr Charlie Burton on 0402 016 625.
The 2021 Census will not count LGBTIQA+ Australians. 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.
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.[1] 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.[2]
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.