Census sex policy ‘captured’ by trans activists The Times 21.10.20

The original article is here

Trans rights campaigners “ideologically captured” statistics authorities in their efforts to change the sex question in the next census, an academic report has claimed.

A standard question about sex and gender had been changed after officials met “almost exclusively with groups claiming to represent the interest of the trans community”, the paper entitled Sex and the Census found.

The research, linked to a policy analysis collective which has extensively researched women’s sex-based rights and gender self-identification, focused on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the National Records of Scotland (NRS).

The report’s authors, Jane Clare Jones and Lisa Mackenzie, wrote: “NRS did not meet with any women’s groups during the question development period, despite the obvious interest that women have in a sex question that generates high quality data on the number of female citizens in Scotland.”

Acknowledging the invaluable data derived from the census since 1801, the authors stress any omissions or changes to the information collected is a matter of great public interest.

The report adds: “Recent developments at ONS and NRS have led to changes to the sex question in the census. This means that the sex question now records ‘self-identified sex’, or gender identity, rather than biological sex.

“These changes have been made in a way which lacks democratic transparency and accountability.

“We attribute these developments to a process of ‘policy capture’, whereby public policy becomes skewed in favour of one particular interest group over and above others.

“In the case of the census, the demands of groups which claim to represent the interests of the trans community have been privileged to the detriment of women, but also to those who require robust data on sex to plan public services, allocate public resources and monitor equalities outcomes.”

Both the ONS and the NRS rejected the suggestion their policies had been “captured” before the next census, due to be held in England and Wales next year, and in Scotland in 2022.

NRS confirmed it had dropped a plan to list 21 different sexualities in the next census. It maintains that for most people their sex equates to their biological and legal sex, and they do not require guidance to answer a question, but says that is not true for all.

An NRS spokeswoman said: “National Records of Scotland has engaged, and will continue to do so, with a wide range of stakeholders as it prepares for Scotland’s census in 2022. A sex question has been asked in Scotland’s Census since 1801 and a binary sex question with self-identification guidance will be asked for the census.”

The ONS said it was continuing to use the binary sex question asking if a person is female or male, the approach unchanged since 1801. It added: “An entirely separate, voluntary question for people aged 16 and over who wish to identify their gender as different to their sex registered at birth is included elsewhere in the census.”

 

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