Saturday, February 23, 2008

TUC Wants Extra Diversity Details in 2011 Census

To coincide with LGBT History Month, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is calling for the next National Census, due in 2011, to include a question on sexual orientation for the first time.

The census provides important information about UK society, and LGBT people are the only social groups currently not counted. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber and Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill have written to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to demand that the next census includes questions on sexual orientation.

The TUC and Stonewall believe that excluding sexual orientation data places LGBT groups at a disadvantage, as local authorities don't have an idea of numbers of LGBT people in their communities when they are allocating resources for services.

SERTUC Regional Secretary Megan Dobney said: 'It's vital that the ONS includes a question on sexual orientation in the next census.

'There are currently no statistics on LGBT people and this means they are missing out. Decisions on allocation of resources, by local authorities for example, are taken on the basis of the census and LGBT people are at present unable to get their share as there is no data on them.

'Over recent years, there has been a dramatic change in the legal position of LGBT people and significant improvements in their social acceptance as equal citizens. It's time for the census to reflect these changes and collect information about the LGBT community.'

The TUC and Stonewall recognise that there will be some opposition so have suggested that respondents be given the right to answer 'prefer not to say'. They also recognise that there is no agreement among transgender people about whether there should be a question, and therefore the ONS is asked to consider how to collect data on this community.

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