UK activists hail first census data on gender, gay identities
By: Mohnish Singh
More than a quarter of a million people in England and Wales identify with a different gender from their sex registered at birth, the countries’ first such census data showed on Friday.
The once-a-decade questionnaire, conducted last year, also revealed around 1.5 million people gave their sexual orientation as LGBTQ, representing 3.2 percent of those aged 16 and over.
It was the first time English and Welsh census data has included an estimate of the LGBTQ population, as well as asking about gender identity.
Adults provided the information on a voluntary basis.
Campaign group Stonewall described the publication of the figures as a “historic step forward” after decades of campaigning and centuries of LGBTQ people being “invisible” and “missing from the national record”.
Nancy Kelley, the charity’s chief executive, added it was “finally painting an accurate picture of the diverse ‘Rainbow Britain’ that we now live in, where more and more of us are proud to be who we are”.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) — which is publishing the 2021 census in stages over two years — revealed 262,000 people said their gender identity was different from their sex registered at birth.
This represents 0.5 percent of the population aged 16 and over.
Some 48,000 identified as a trans man and an equal 48,000 identified as a trans woman, while 118,000 did not provide further detail.
A total of 30,000 identified as non-binary while a further 18,000 people wrote in a different gender identity.
Among those responding to questions about sexual orientation, 43.4 million people – 89.4 percent of the population aged 16 and over – identified as heterosexual.
Some 748,000 described themselves as gay or lesbian, 624,000 as bisexual, and 165,000 selected “other sexual orientation”.
The ONS noted nearly 46 million – 94 percent of the population aged 16 and over – answered the question on gender identity, and around 45 million people did so about their sexual orientation.
ONS director Jen Woolford said the first census estimates would help policy-making.
Decision-makers can now better “understand the extent and nature of disadvantage which people may be experiencing in terms of educational outcomes, health, employment and housing”, she said.