While Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has now promised to meet with LGBTIQ representatives, anger continues to rise at the erasure of LGBTIQ identities from Census 2022.
Earlier this week, LGBTIQ group Iranti highlighted its concern that the national census, which is currently underway, has failed to include LGBTIQ identities in its questionnaire.
In the question relating to sex, it only allows for two options; male or female, thereby excluding transgender and intersex people who do not fully identify as either.
The census also does not include any questions relating to sexual orientation and will therefore not yield any data relating to lesbian, gay and bisexual persons in South Africa.
This has been seen as a missed opportunity for the government to better understand the size and needs of this often invisible community so that it can better plan and allocate resources to meet its needs.
On Friday, Access Chapter 2 (AC2), another LGBTIQ organisation, added its voice in condemning Stats SA’s exclusion and erasure of the community in the census.
“We believe that this is a deliberate attack, not only on the Constitution, but on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer plus community,” commented AC2 Communication Associate and Spokesperson, Mpho Buntse.
“We are extremely angered by Stats SA’s gender binary stance towards its Census 22 campaign. The credibility of the institution is mired by obvious prejudice and bias against other identities,” said the organisation.
AC2 expressed its “grave concern that the institution has for the last 26 years not empowered itself on the consciousness, existence and understanding of the gender and sexuality spectrum.”
It further questioned the credibility of the outcome of the census and warned of a possible boycott by those who feel excluded by the census. “We assert… that this census is not the true representation of the South African population as it pertains to those who are gender non-conforming and non-binary in the spectrum.”
Meanwhile, Iranti has confirmed that it has since been in touch with Stats SA and that “they have committed to meeting with Iranti in March in the post-census period.”
Nolwazi Tusini, Iranti’s Communications and Media Manager, told MambaOnline that while the organisation welcomes the development, it is not enough.
“What is going to satisfy us is a census that enumerates the LGBTIQ community. We are encouraged by Stats SA’s commitment and look forward to the engagement but we will not be satisfied until the questionnaire is properly representative of gender diversity and sexual orientation,” said Tusini.
Speaking to EWN, Stats SA’s Trevor Oosterwyk said the agency is currently conducting a survey project to test and refine questions relating to LGBTIQ people that could be included in the next census, which is only likely to take place in ten years.