Amnesty International has written to Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar MP to convey our dismay over the Australian Government’s decision to not include questions about sexual orientation, gender identity and variations in sex characteristics in Census 2021.
Census 2021 is the Australian Government’s key opportunity to understand what the community needs – particularly in relation to health and mental health services, education, and community and social services. As a result of this decision, the Government cannot understand the needs of LGBTQIA+ people, and the community will miss out on vital services, simply because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and variations of sex characteristics.
This is a matter of serious concern, as it will result in a service gap that constitutes discrimination of the LGBTQIA+ community. Every person is born free and equal in dignity and rights and is entitled to the rights and freedoms in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights without distinction of any kind. With special consideration on the Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (the ‘Yogyakarta Principles’), it is essential that Governments acknowledge that sexual orientation, gender identity and variations of sex characteristics are integral to people’s dignity and humanity and must not be the basis of discrimination or abuse.
Most LGBTQIA+ Australians will have a horror story about not being able to access health and mental health services, education, and community and social services. Research indicates that LGBTQIA+ people are more likely to experience discrimination, bullying and abuse and are significantly more at risk of suicide, self-harm and mental health impacts as a result. Yet without the necessary data to steer service delivery, the Government cannot ensure the LGBTQIA+ community have access to required services, ensuring that human rights are enjoyed without discrimination.