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UK may remove compulsory identification of sex from census

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The is set to become one of the first countries in the world not to require its citizens to identify their sex as part of its forms.

The UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) is proposing to make the sex question in the next scheduled for March 2021 voluntary after protests that it discriminates against transgender and other non-binary people who do not identify as male or female, 'The Sunday Times' reported.


The change will leave without an accurate figure for the number of men and women living in the country.

The proposal was greeted with horror last night by some feminists, who see it as part of a growing trend to remove all mention of the biological female sex.

Germaine Greer, UK-based Australian feminist writer and academic, said biological women were "losing out everywhere".

"Im sick and tired of this. We keep arguing that women have won everything they need to win. They havent even won the right to exist," she told the newspaper.

In a report slipped out last month, the ONS said the existing question, which requires respondents to choose whether they are male or female, was "considered to be irrelevant, unacceptable and intrusive, particularly to trans participants, due to asking about sex rather than gender."

Another option to add a third choice of "other" was rejected as "irrelevant and intrusive", with the "other" category "thought to homogenise trans people and differentiate them from the rest of society".

The final option, a two-step design with separate sex and gender identity questions, was also rejected, the newspaper reported.

The report instead recommended that the existing 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.

It also said that any other questions on sex or gender should be voluntary.

The survey takes place every 10 years and has recently also been in the for some British Sikhs demanding a separate tick box under ethnicity for Sikhs besides the optional religion section.

It is a criminal offence not to complete the census, or to give false information.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, October 08 2017. 18:13 IST
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