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LGBT Foundation welcomes questions on sexual orientation and trans status in 2021 Census

Published: 14 December 2018 Tags: census, monitoring By Emma Meehan

Paul Martin, OBE, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation, reacts to the news that for the first time LGBT people will be recognised in the 2021 census:

“We’re delighted that the Office of National Statistics has recognised the importance of gathering data on people’s sexual orientation and trans status and that these questions will be included in the 2021 census.

Over the last two decades, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people have seen legislative change which has led to greater acceptance. However, there is still a huge lack of evidence about LGBT people and our needs and experiences.

Gathering comprehensive data about LGBT people in the UK through the census is the first step to securing a safe, healthy and equal future for all LGBT people.

If we’re not counted, we don’t count, and we are hopeful that the census data will inform future public services, so that they can better meet the needs of LGBT people.”

Press release from the Office of National Statistics: LGBT+ community to be recognised in 2021 Census

The digital first 2021 Census will help shape public services to meet the needs of the LGBT+ community in the years to come, as plans set out in a government white paper today show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recommended a new voluntary question on sexual orientation for those aged 16 and over. In addition to the usual question on being male or female for all ages, there will also be a voluntary question on gender identity in England and Wales for those aged over 16.

It was always the intention of ONS that these questions would be voluntary.

The data gathered from these questions will make it easier to monitor inequalities under the anti-discrimination duties of the Equality Act 2010 and to directly plan public services and support for these groups.

National Statistician, John Pullinger, said: “The Census is for everyone; it gives us all the opportunity to stand up and be counted in democratic debate and policy decisions.

“We have designed it with people at its heart and we consulted widely to ensure it meets the needs of society. Unlike previous Censuses, it will be digital first which will make it easier to complete electronically, with help available for those who need it.”

The date for the digital first census has been confirmed as 21 March 2021, subject to parliamentary approval.

Information gathered by ONS will ensure vital public services can be targeted into communities and groups where they are needed, in 2021 and beyond.

ONS is transforming the way it collects, processes and shares data and the next census is part of a wider drive towards making more use of data already held and moving surveys online.

In line with previous censuses, ONS will hold a census rehearsal in October 2019 and is currently reviewing which local authority areas will be included.

For more information, see the white paper which has been laid today in Parliament.