In 2011, the Office of National Statistics will be conducting a national census to profile the population of the United Kingdom. According to current plans, the census will not include any questions on sexual identity.
The Equalities & Human Rights Commission is calling for the inclusion of a question on sexual orientation to measure, for the first time, the number of LGBT citizens in the country.
To show your support for the EHRC, sign your name on the petition at the Number 10 website – http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/lgb2011census/
I feel that this is a very valid point and would potentially allow for more accurate figures instead of the oft guessed at 8-10%, as well as provide a whole range of statistics on the breakdown of our community that we simply just don’t have. As the census is largely anonymous (and a legally required document), I think people will trust it a lot more than other surveys and provide more information than in any other type of survey. Of course, this all depends on whether the rest of your household know that you’re LGBT of course! For those still in the closet, but still in a position to mark the LGBT box, it could mean a nice little shock for family-tree loving grand-children, nephews and nieces in 100 years time when they release the 2011 census heh! That said, by 2111, one would hope that this kinda thing would be so mainstream that people wouldn’t give two hoots.
Having this level of information could be vital in helping us achieve equality across the board, and ensure that we get it within all sections of the community, as well as having other societal benefits such as aiding in the distribution of limited LGBT resources and services. In my opinion, it could also be used to provide data to highlight to the rest of the World just how ‘normal’* we gay people really are!
(*when I say normal, I do of course mean ‘fabulous darling!‘).
More details from petition creator
Since 2006 the ONS ‘Sexual Identity Project’ has investigated the development of “a question (or set of questions) that can be used on social surveys and for equality monitoring purposes”. The current position is that no such question is likely to be included in 2011, meaning at least another decade before we see such a question on what is the most important survey of the UK population.
The survey will contain references to same-sex civil partnerships (which is a great step forward), so it makes no sense to then omit a question on sexual orientation.
At the 2009 Stonewall Workplace Conference, the Chief Executive of the Equalities & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) indicated clearly that the EHRC’s view was that such a question should be included in 2011, challenging the ONS position. As the UK authority on equality issues, the EHRC’s point of view should be taken seriously.
In keeping with the proposed Single Equality Act, it is the perfect time to add a question on sexual orientation to the census.
This government has an excellent record on LGB rights so far, please don’t tarnish that by accepting the ONS stance on this issue. Show courage and don’t make us wait yet another decade.