LGBTI community accuses Census of discrimination for excluding transgender, non-binary and intersex categories

LGBTI flag PICTURE: Supplied

LGBTI flag PICTURE: Supplied

Published Feb 4, 2022


Cape Town - The LGBTI community has accused Stats SA of discrimination for excluding transgender, non-binary and intersex categories in their Census 2022 campaign questionnaire.

The Census 2022 questionnaire only includes the “sex” category limited to male and female identification.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said that the sex question would only refer to the biological makeup of a person or the sex that is assigned at birth.

LGBTI rights advocacy group Iranti says that the current questionnaire also does not include questions relating to sexual orientation and will therefore not yield any data pertaining to lesbian, gay and bisexual persons in South Africa.

The group says that this questionnaire is not in line with the South African constitution which recognises the diverse sexual orientations that exist in the country.

“We regard this census as unconstitutional because its very design is premised on exclusion. And if a census excludes a significant population such as the LGBTI community, then by its very nature, it encourages the State to erase our very existence,” said Iranti’s Executive Director, Jabu Pereira.

“We are dismayed to note that Census 2022 will not be enumerating the LGBTI+ community in any meaningful way. The census solely relies on counting a society that is cisgender and excludes a significant part of South Africa’s population,” they said.

“History has taught us that data captured from the Census 2022 responses to the question on sex is often used to make conclusions about gender in ways that exclude entirely transgender, intersex and non-binary persons,” he added.

StatsSA has said they were aware of the concerns raised and have admitted that the questionnaires have a limited definition of sex.

"It is true that we do not ask the questions, but we do know we have a binary definition of sex, and that's not enough. That is essence comparable to all the other censuses we have done so that the data can compare over time," StatsSA's Head of Communications Trevor Oosterwyk said.

StatsSA said it will meet with the group in March to discuss the matter.