UK may remove compulsory identification of sex from census form

The UK 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 census forms.

PTI| Updated: Oct 08, 2017, 21:06 PM IST

London: The UK 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 census forms.

The UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) is proposing to make the sex question in the next census 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 Britain 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".

"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," she told the newspaper.

In a report slipped out last month, the ONS said the existing census 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 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.

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 news 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.