Gender identity question on ONS census for first time The Times 15.02.21

The original article is here.

The introduction of a question on gender for the first time in next month’s UK census has been welcomed as a “good first step” by members of the transgender community.

The voluntary question in the 2021 survey, which also will be predominantly online for the first time, reads: “Is the gender you identify with the same as your sex registered at birth?” People aged over 16 can tick “yes” or “no” and specify their gender identity.

The Office for National Statistics, which will run the census on March 21, said that the question was being asked only of people aged 16 and over because “we anticipate gender identity data collected from persons below this age is likely to be of low quality”.

A spokesman said that it was partly owing to the likelihood of the information being supplied by a parent or guardian, adding that the “key data need” for gender identity was for information on those aged 16 and over.

Owen Hurcum, 23, mayor-elect of Bangor in north Wales, said: “I think it is great that we can finally put our real genders on the census. As nice and as validating as that will feel for us to do, it really is only the tip of the iceberg for what the government can do.

“We need to be able to put genders other than M/F on our passports and they need to improve the access to gender identity clinics, as well as moving towards legal gender self-ID.

“They need to reword the 2010 Equalities Act to unambiguously include non-binary identities as protected characteristics.”

Stonewall, which campaigns for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people equality, said that there was no accurate figure on the size of the community.

Iestyn Wyn, the charity’s campaigns, policy and research manager for Wales, said: “Census data on age, ethnicity and a range of other characteristics have been key to showing inequality and the need for support, and the same will be true for tackling barriers that LGBT+ people face.”

Shash Appan, 24, a trans activist from Cardiff, said that she would fill in the form to say “trans woman”, and added that “it’s a good first step forward, definitely, and it’s much-needed”.

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