People Can Record Their Gender And Sexual Identity Privately On The Census For The First Time
Featured Image Credit: PA
For the first time ever, the England and Wales 2021 Census will ask voluntary questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.
The inclusion of these questions about sexuality ensures LGBTQ+ communities are counted which could lead to even greater recognition and support from the government and public bodies.
The census takes place once every 10 years and LGBT+ groups - including the LGBT Foundation - are urging people to take the 'once in a decade opportunity' to be counted.
The LGBT Foundation says there are currently no robust figures on the number of LGBT people in England and Wales, which leads to lots of varying estimates. Accurate numbers will help to build a clearer picture for policy-makers and service-providers.
For some members of the LGBT+ community, it may be unsafe for them to disclose their sexuality to the other members of their household. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found a solution - they can request an individual access code to fill out the census privately.
The questions on sexual orientation will be voluntary and for people aged 16 and over.
Northern Ireland's survey does not include a question about gender identity and Scotland is not completing a census this year. The Scottish census is due to take place in 2022 and is also set to include voluntary questions on sexual orientation and identity.
Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive at Stonewall (she/her) said in a statement: "The 2021 Census will be a historic moment for LGBT+ communities.
"For far too long, our community has been a hidden population. Collecting this vital data will ensure researchers, policymakers, service providers and community organisations are able to understand the needs of LGBT+ people and develop tailored services to help us be treated fairly and achieve our potential.
The census gives a snapshot of the entire population on a designated night. Since 1801, it has taken place every 10 years except in 1941, during the Second World War.
Households are required by law to answer questions about their accommodation, occupation, education, ethnicity, religion and marital status, and failure to do so could lead to a £1,000 fine.