The Census Showed How Difficult It Is To Get Accurate Numbers On Sex And Gender

For the first time, the 2016 census collected information about people with a sex or gender identity other than male or female – but the effort didn’t translate into accurate figures.


On Tuesday, new data from the census offered several insights into modern Australian life, including a rise in people with “no religion”, a dramatic increase in same-sex couples, and changes to Australia’s ethnic make up.

The option of Australians marking their sex or gender as something other than male or female wasn’t part of the standard form.

Instead, in response to the question “Is the person male or female?”, people who identify as something else were asked to either write their answer in the space next to the boxes on the paper form, or request a special login for the online form.

Now, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has concluded that the information collected is not an accurate measure of the number of people in Australia with a sex or gender other than male or female.

“The ABS has made this assessment in consideration of the inherent limitations of the Australian Census for this topic, the limitations of the approach used for the 2016 Census and the operational challenges experienced,” it said in a report titled Sex and Gender Diversity in the 2016 Census.

The report also said that the ABS hadn’t expected to get accurate numbers on diverse sex and gender in the 2016 census.


Of the more than 23 million Australians counted in the census, 1,300 intentionally gave their sex or gender as something other than male or female.

A further 2,400 people ticked both male and female boxes. This could have been an intentional indication of another sex or gender from people who didn’t know about or didn’t want to use the special procedures, or it could have been a mistake.

There was a much larger proportion of people aged 60 and over who ticked both boxes. This increase in age may be connected to the fact it was only possible to tick both boxes on the paper form, and the proportion of people using the paper form was also greater with age.

The ABS identified several challenges that come with collecting accurate information on sex and gender in the census, including:

* Most households fill out the census without asking questions or clarifications from ABS staff (e.g. explaining difference between sex and gender, or asking how to indicate an “other” response).

* One household member may fill out the form for other people in the house and incorrectly identify a person’s sex or gender if that person is not out, keeps their medical history private, their gender identity is not accepted, etc.

* There is limited space on the census form, which means often only one question can be asked on a topic where multiple questions might be clearer.

The ABS said it will engage with peak groups, collect community feedback, and undertake targeted peer review on other responses to the sex and gender question for the next census in 2021.

Only a quarter of gay men know that people on effective HIV treatment can’t pass it on

Despite medical evidence that people on effective treatment for HIV cannot pass on the virus, one in four gay people know this.

New research by the Terrence Higgins Trust found that 25 percent of gay or lesbian respondents are unaware that those on treatment cannot pass on HIV.

The research also found that just 12 percent of bisexual people are aware of the fact.


And from the general public, just 9 percent said they knew that those with an undetectable viral load are unable to pass on HIV.

THT warns that out out date beliefs about HIV transmission contribute to stigma and discrimination.

The charity adds that this in turn stops people from coming forward for testing.

Around one in three British, or 32 percent of adults would feel uncomfortable giving First Aid to someone living with HIV who is on effective treatment, according to the YouGov survey of 2,022 people.

This compares with 9 percent of gay and lesbian respondents, and 22 percent of bisexual respondents.

Meanwhile, 39 percent of the public would be uncomfortable going on a date with someone living with HIV who is on effective treatment, compared to 14 percent of gay and lesbian respondents and 22 percent of bisexual respondents.

There is no risk of getting HIV from any of these situations.

Dr Michael Brady, Medical Director at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “It is saddening to see that, in 2017, people are still being treated differently because of their HIV status. These fears are unfounded, because we can say, with confidence, that people who are on effective treatment can’t transmit HIV – they are not infectious.

“Only 1 in 4 gay respondents were aware of this fact, despite general HIV awareness being better within this community. So we have a long way to go before this vital message is common knowledge among the LGBT community, let alone the general public.

“We urgently need to bring people up to date with medical evidence and listen to science, not stigma.”

Evidence has been building over two decades showing that the likelihood of passing on HIV is linked to the amount of the virus in the blood or viral load. Treatment is deemed effective when it reduces this to undetectable levels.

Last summer, the landmark PARTNER study provided the definitive medical evidence that people with an ‘undetectable’ viral load cannot pass on HIV at all.

Alex Causton-Ronaldson, 26, from Brighton, was diagnosed with HIV in 2014. He said: “Now I know my HIV status, it’s a weight off my shoulders because I am on treatment, so I can’t pass it on. I’m healthy and well, and I can have relationships. But the number one problem with living with HIV is the stigma. People aren’t aware of the latest medical knowledge and they treat you as though you’re a risk to them. They don’t realise the effect this has on your self esteem.

“You hear about people who are too scared to get tested, because of the stigma that’s attached to HIV. People are then diagnosed far too late. Stigma can be a killer.”

Terrence Higgins Trust has now launched a new myth-busting campaign, Can’t Pass It On, to reduce stigma and help stop HIV.

The campaign is supported by Dr Christian Jessen, who says: “Scientific evidence shows that people on effective treatment for HIV are not infectious. This is an extraordinary breakthrough that hasn’t yet filtered down to the public.

“First of all, it means there should be no new HIV infections. We can stop HIV being passed on by encouraging people to get tested and treated. Secondly, it should take away all the stigma, and it really does allow people to have relationships and live normal lives without fear. That’s why I fully support the Can’t Pass It On campaign.”

More information is available at the THT website and using the hashtag #cantpassiton.

France to legislate to allow assisted procreation for lesbian couples

A spokesperson for the French Government has said that it plans to legislate to allow lesbian couples access to assisted procreation.

This comes after an influential ethics panel yesterday recommended that medically assisted procreation be extended to include lesbian couples and single people.

The National Consultative Committee on Ethics made the recommendation on Tuesday, after President Emmanuel Macron promised to make the medically assisted reproduction techniques available to lesbians.

Government Spokesman Christophe Castaner said that Macron had been waiting for the backing of the ethics panel and now plans to legislate on the issue.

Castaner suggested that the process may be slow as to avoid strong opposition like that faced in 2013 when France legislated for same-sex marriage.

“It’s important to seek the broadest possible consensus and avoid overly dogmatic stances that would pitch people against one another,” Castaner told a weekly news conference.

“But our objective is to transform the view of the CCNE into legislation.”

If France goes ahead and changes its laws on assisted procreation, it would bring it in line with other European countries like Britain, Belgium and Spain.

It is currently only available to straight couples in France.

Some LGBT groups welcomed the recommendation, and SOS Homophibie said it was a good move, urging the President to legislate for the move swiftly.

Macron, who has spoken out on a number of LGBT issues, officially became the President of France last month.

Macron is a staunch supporter of LGBT rights and equality, having dedicated an entire section of his manifesto to addressing issues that the LGBT community faces.

The newly elected president, who is the youngest president to ever be elected in France, has pledged to end everyday homophobia as well as workplace anti-LGBT discrimination.

He has also promised to defend equal marriage, a legislation that Macron has deemed “an enrichment of what the family is in France that shows its importance to all of us”.

His anti-LGBT opponent, Le Pen, had promised to abolish the law that created marriage equality in the country, burying the policy in a manifesto of 144 pledges.

The President faced ‘gay’ smears in the weeks running up to the final vote from Russian state media outlets.

YouTube’s Pride video is being trolled by vile anti-LGBT commenters

YouTube is being trolled by vile anti-LGBT comments on a video it shared in celebration of Pride Month.

The video, posted on Tuesday 27 June celebrates a number of moments in LGBT life in the last year as well as appearances by YouTubers and celebrities.

Despite the positive and celebratory nature of the video, it has received over 180,000 down votes compared to 117,000 up votes.

It has also been trolled with a large number of anti-LGBT comments calling the video “madness” and comparing LGBT people to child sex abusers.

One user wrote: “Whyy does Youtube keep shoving this kind of content down our throats?”

Another added: “God save us from this nightmare.”

“3% of the population, 40% of child predators”

In one amazingy ignorant comment, a user wrote: “Noticed how mostly women are defending this video? By the state of the West, becoming more and more evident, most women are ruled by their emotions and don’t have the stomach to make tough fact based decisions.”

Another made a “joke” referring to the Holocaust, writing: “Sorry, I’m a bit late for this shitshow.
Now, has everybody been issued with a pink star, because the trains are rolling out pretty soon.”


Despite the anti-LGBT comments, the video has been viewed some 5 million times.

Check out the video below:

YouTube has been a strong supporter of Pride in the past and often releases videos to celebrate Pride Month.

In a moving compilation video posted back in 2013, YouTube launched a campaign to feature Pride videos, and has launched a campaign to inspire LGBT people and their allies to show their pride.

But the site earlier this year admitted making “mistakes,” and promised “we’re going to fix” a phenomenon which saw many LGBT videos hidden from some viewers.

The site’s Restricted Mode feature, introduced by Google to “filter out potentially inappropriate content,” had automatically hidden many seemingly benign LGBT videos.
After the site said “Sorry for all the confusion” in a tweet, Johanna Wright, YouTube’s VP of Product Management, went further in her apology for the malfunctioning feature.

A super cute YouTube couple came out as gay last year on their channel.

Pret A Manger unblocks access to LGBT sites on in-store wifi

Pret A Manger has unblocked access to LGBT websites on its in-store wifi.

Branches of sandwich giant Pret A Manger had been blocking access to sites like PinkNews over “mature” content rules.

But the sandwich chain has now said it was not aware that sites like PinkNews were being blocked and has removed a number of unnecessary categories.


Chris Bromley posted on the Pret A Manger Facebook page saying he had been trying to access LGBT content in the St Martins Lane branch of the store.

But he said he was blocked from accessing sites like PinkNews over “mature” content rules on the in-store wifi, provided by Pret through third-party wifi provider Crowd Wifi.

Crowd Wifi at Pret blocks PinkNews

A number of other companies including Oxfam, Scotrail and University College Hospital have in the past unblocked access to PinkNews after realising that it was blocked as “mature” content.

Firewall providers Symantec and Norton back in 2014 unblocked access to sites based on “sexual orientation” and removed the category from their blocked lists.

Pret A Manger has responded to say that it has reviewed its entire wifi policy and has removed a number of unnecessary categories.

Pret’s Brand Director, Caroline Cromar said: “Thanks to PinkNews and our customers contacting us, we were made aware that our new wifi provider had been set up to filter out too many sites.

“I’m pleased to confirm that PinkNews and other LGBT sites can now be accessed again via Pret’s wifi. We would never wish to discriminate against any group of customers and we’re sorry for any upset this issue has caused.”