The ABS Will Allegedly Reassign Non-Binary People To Male Or Female At Random In The Census

"Imagine if the govt was like “we’re going to randomly assign everyone as either old or young on the census” because that’s what they’ve done to gender diverse people."


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The 2021 census does not include questions pertaining to sexuality and a new report from The Feed alleges that trans-Australians will be shamefully erased and overlooked as well.

The Australian Census is the nation’s largest survey that tracks changes in population, housing, health conditions, religion and many other social factors. The data collected from the census is used by everyone, from the government to advocacy groups, to determine where to allocate funding and inform policy.

Sexual orientation is not included in the census beyond the question of whether you live with a same-sex partner. It does not attempt to account for LGBTQIA Australians who are single. Nor, as it turns out, will it account for gender diverse Australians.

While the census does provide a problematic ‘non-binary’ option for one’s sex (not gender, and yes, they’re different), a report from The Feed suggests that the ABS won’t be releasing Census data on non-binary participants. Instead, the ABS will randomly assign people who’ve selected this option as male or female.

This insight comes via Acting Director of Community Health at ACON, Teddy Cook. Cook was a member of the ABS Standard on Sex, Gender, Variations of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation Variables in 2020.

“The Census has let us down. What this means is we’re basically unable to assess and understand how many LGBTIQ people there are in Australia,” Mr Cook said.

According to a spokesperson from the ABS, the main release of Census data will present sex data with two output categories: male and female. “Where a respondent has provided a non-binary sex response, a statistical method will be used to derive the sex variable,” the spokesperson told The Feed.

The ABS spokesperson clarified that there will be separate articles released by the ABS about non-binary Australians. Furthermore, the upcoming National Health Survey and Mental Health Survey will include questions of gender identity.

However, the reality remains such that in Australia’s largest survey- the data from which determines funding, social assistance and policy at every level – LGBT Australians are systemically erased.