‘Sex’ question could be removed from UK census because it’s ‘transphobic’
The “tentative” recommendation has been made in an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report on gender identity. The move would make the UK one of the first countries in the world not to require its citizens to tell officials what their sex is, according to the Times.
The consultation found the existing census question requiring a simple choice between male and female is now “considered to be irrelevant, unacceptable and intrusive, particularly to trans participants, due to asking about sex rather than gender.”
The option to add a third choice of “other” was rejected, however. Researchers said it was “irrelevant and intrusive” and thought to homogenize trans people into a category of their own.
Another option to have two separate questions – one about biological sex and the other about gender identity – was also rejected.
The report recommends the existing census question “should not be mandatory, for the benefit of particularly intersex and non-binary people who cannot choose male or female as a reflection of their current sex or gender.
“We are aware that trans people themselves refer to their diverse identities and experiences in many different ways and that use of some terms is contested,” it added.
Of 1,085 responses to the consultation, 54 respondents raised gender identity, with 14 specifically requesting it be included as an additional topic in the census.
An online self-completion survey found that 0.8 percent of approximately 10,000 respondents had transgender identities and that around half of this population – of 40 individuals – had undergone gender reassignment surgery.
Several prominent feminists have raised concern about “gender neutrality” having damaging consequences for women and society.
Germaine Greer, the feminist academic and writer, told the Times women are “losing out everywhere” because of a growing tendency to dismiss the importance of gender.
“I’m sick and tired of this. We keep arguing that women have won everything they need to win. They haven’t even won the right to exist.”
Greer has previously been accused of transphobia, after she said transgender women were not “real women.”
If the proposals go ahead, the change would leave the government without accurate data on the number of men and woman officially living in the country after the next census in 2021.
Britain has carried out a census every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941 during the Second World War. It is the only time that everybody in the country is counted, and is used by the government to determine spending priorities and track population movements.