Non-binary in Census 2016

The 2016 Australian Census was an obvious and very public debacle in several respects, but there was a positive side: it allowed non-binary and intersex people to be counted in a distinct way from male and female people.

2016 Australian census Q. 2

Q. 2: Non-binary transgender (Androgyne)

For the first time I was able to click a radio button for ‘Other’ in question two, instead of ‘Male’ or ‘Female.’ In the ‘please specify’ box I wrote: “Non-binary transgender (Androgyne).”

2016 Australian cenus feedback

Census feedback: Glad I didn’t have to lie.

This ‘Other’ option was only available in the online version if you requested a special login code for non-binary people.

2016 Australian census Q. 18

Q. 18: No religion

Another innovation was to put ‘No religion’ at the top of the options for religion in question 18. Apparently, the powers that be thought this would elicit a more accurate figure, and they may be right.

The improvement in the recording of non-binary status in the census is no doubt due to the advocacy and legal achievements of several gender pioneers in Australia over a long period of time, notably Alex MacFarlane, Norrie, and Tony Briffa. More recently Jamie Shupe has been succeeding in legal action in the USA.

Alex MacFarlane
In 2001 Alex, born many decades earlier in Victoria (Australia), was given a new birth certificate showing “Sex: Indeterminate also known as Intersex.

From en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_MacFarlane :

MacFarlane is believed to be the first person in Australia to obtain a birth certificate recording sex as indeterminate, and the first Australian passport with an ‘X’ sex marker in 2003.

Norrie
Also from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_MacFarlane :

[Norrie] became the first transsexual person in Australia to pursue a legal status of neither a man nor a woman, in 2010. That status was subjected to an appeal by the State of New South Wales. In April 2014 the Australian High Court ruled “that New South Wales laws do permit the registration of a category of sex other than male or female.” See also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norrie_May-Welby

Tony Briffa
Also from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_MacFarlane :

Tony Briffa JP previously acknowledged as the world’s first openly intersex public official and mayor, states on Briffa’s website that “my birth certificate is silent as to my sex.” See also www.briffa.org

Jamie Shupe (USA)
www.themarysue.com/oregon-court-nonbinary/ (June 2016):

…an Oregon circuit court rules that resident Jamie Shupe could legally change their gender to nonbinary—the first U.S. court to do so.” See also transgender.wiki/jamie-shupe/

Like me Shupe uses Mx as a title, instead of Miss or Mr etc. Thus ‘Mx Jamie Shupe,’ and ‘Mx Shupe.’ I’ve been using Mx (pronounced ‘mix’), a non-binary transgender title, since 2002. See mixmargaret.com/about-mx-with-miss-mrs-mr-ms-and-the-singular-they.html

2016 Australian census Q. 36

Q. 36: Occupation: music teacher

If anyone in Australia has not yet done the census be aware it is compulsory and you can be fined. The deadline is 23 September, 2016. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) sent me this:

If you are using the online form and the responses of male and female do not apply to you, please take the following steps:
1. Call the Census Inquiry Service on 1300 214 531.
2. Ask for a Census Login for the special online form. You can receive your Login by SMS or email.
3. Use your new Census Login to complete your Census form at census.abs.gov.au

You could also ask the ABS if there is a special hardcopy form.

6 thoughts on “Non-binary in Census 2016

  1. An utterly stupid way to do this .
    If there had not been so much pressure to have more detail there would have been a real opportunity to gain a real insight into the scale of the TGD community . Many are not even involved or connected with community how will they know what to do and would they even bother when it takes the extra effort.
    Seriously sad lost opportunity.

      • It is unfortunate that the people consulted are not truly representative of community. I as an advocate know the established LGBT bureaucrats are as distant from reality as any bureaucratic structure can be. They neither consult with the community nor pay due attention to its needs. It’s far past time it retired from its claims of inclusion and accepted it is not working to the best interests of all. TGD interests need to be represented properly not as some subtext to the Gay and lesbian agenda.

  2. Firstly, it’s great the option was available, but why not make it available to everyone? Why make non-binary people jump through extra hoops?

    • I suspect the ABS were afraid they’d get lots of joke answers if the ‘Other’ option was on every form. If they do it the same way next time (2021) it will be up to the so-called ‘communities’ of non-binary and intersex people to get the word out.

      Methinks even this step is momentous and will be seen in retrospect as a watershed.

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