UK census 2021 will now allow people to enter their gender identity
For the first time in history, the census being conducted in Britain will ask people about their gender identity. On Friday, this information was confirmed by the country’s national statistician.
On March 21, the census will be held in all regions except Scotland, as it has postponed its census. This census will include the question and ask for people’s legal sex.
Professor Sir Ian Diamond told BBC radio, “We will be asking for the first time a voluntary question later in the questionnaire about gender identity.” He specified and made it very clear that this will only apply to people over 16.
A recommended question was published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This question asked whether a person’s gender identity is the same as their legal sex, and if not, asks them to enter what it is. Currently there are no official figures for those who identify their gender as different from the sex registered at birth, hence this information is needed.
According to Scotland’s chief statistician the question on biological sex should no longer be asked. Chief statistician feels that this is an invasion of privacy for those who identify as another gender.
In draft guidelines published in December, Scotland’s statistician, Roger Halliday, said, “that questions about biological sex should only be asked where relevant to medical treatment.” He further added to his statement, “Such a question is likely to breach an individual’s human privacy.”
On Friday, Professor Sir Ian Diamond disagreed with the statement and said, it was “the right question to ask”. “The question on sex is precisely the same question as it has been since 1801 and we haven’t… since that time breached any privacies,” he added.
The census will be conducted online because of the pandemic. As Scotland has postponed its census to March 2022, the UK wide results will be collated later. In 2011, the last census was held and that included Scotland.
Many other countries have added a “third gender” option to censuses for people who are transgender. These countries included Nepal and Bangladesh.