Dorset Police follow up to the Network on Transphobic attack in Bournemouth

LGB&T Dorset Equality Network was very pleased to receive today (29th June) a most important and welcome ‘Community Assurance’ email from Dorset Police’s Inspector Darren Harris (Bournemouth South Neighbourhood Policing Team) concerning the brutal attack of a group of transphobes in Nth Bournemouth last week against a Trans community member.

This further to our swift representation and call for action on this violent attack on Raul and by extension the whole BCP area Trans and LGBT+ community, that we represented to the DPCC and Dorset Police:

Inspector Harris updated the Network that Dorset Police had, realising the importance and significance of the attack [which according to ourselves / the Network, along with many others on our LGBT+ community side, had a major tarnishing impact on the name of Bournemouth as an inclusive LGBT+ safe & friendly resort and town] focused major attention on tracing and making direct contact with the victim of the attack. This to gather much fuller detail in order to maximise tracing the anti-LGBT group in the Nth Dorset area where the horrific attack took place.

We are being kept update in earnest by Dorset Police on the action they are taking, and hope that the attackers will soon be identified and apprehended. This will do much to reassure and support or Bournemouth area LGBT+ community, and of course counteract the very negative national and even international attention caused to Bournemouth given the nature of this horrific attack.

We are very pleased that Dorset Police are taking this matter with the seriousness it deserves; we thank Inspector Harris for his contact to us, and also the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner (DPCC) for his support.

Violent attack on Trans community member in Bournemouth — Network takes action with alert to DPCC

This morning Weymouth Gay Group (WGG) contacted us alerted us to the horrific violent transphobic attack in Bournemouth that has just taken place.

Pink News (source of image above from the link below) has done a fantastic job on highlighting the significance of the attack for Bournemouth’s reputation as Trans and LGBT+ friendly and safe, and on public service organisations (police) with responsibilities in this field:

The Network on learning of this horrific attack at the request of WGG contacted our new Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner (DPCC) Mr David Sidwick, immediately, and within minutes received a call to Network lead Alan Mercel-Sanca, and shortly after received the important statement below from the DPCC directly.

The DPCC in responding swiftly to the Network’s raising the incident this morning with him, and it’s reception by and impact on the LGBT+ community has said: 

This incident/attack is utterly appalling and I am Not indifferent! I will be raising it as a matter of community concern.

The Bournemouth Echo later also provided a news article in which the DPCC provided fuller reasons for his statement to the Network, above:

The Network provides its fullest solidarity with Ruan at this difficult time! We believe that such anti-LGBT+ hate crimes require multi agency (local authority/BCP Council, as well as the police and DPCC, and Prejudice Free Dorset (PFD): clearly NHS support on the mental health impacts of such anti-LGBT+ ASB, too) coordinated action and very clear messaging.

Bournemouth is a nationally and internationally important tourism destination, and with a substantial LGBT+ community. Violent hate crime incidents such as this, which in the link above the whole of the LGBT+ population of Portugal are now aware of, harm our society, reputation, and ultimately economy.

On providing this news article (early evening of Friday 25th June) we are very pleased to see that Dorset Police are taking the incident very seriously. Hopefully the culprits who committed this hideous attack will be apprehended swiftly, protecting LGBT+ community members.

However, we note that as Ruan is a BAME international community member, it appears that he may not have been made aware of the reporting processes as fully as is clearly necessary. This is something that needs to be looked at in earnest from the relevant authorities sides and employers and student services providers in terms of need-to-know information provided before or immediately on international community members settling or staying in the BCP area. This certainly applies as much on race-related, as with LGBT+ related ASB risk experiences.

JP Morgan grant support to assist Network in its Homeless initiative and Prison Service support activity

The Network is delighted to share the news that further to an approach to us by JP Morgan, who had heard of our ground-breaking work, we made a grant application to JP Morgan that has been successful. Specifically this greatly appreciated grant will assist us in our further development of our LGBT+ & LGBTQ Homeless initiative and the important support activity we are providing to the prison service (HMPPS) at the two Portland prisons and broader Avon & South Dorset HMPPS Group.

A huge thank you to JP Morgan; their support shows their enthusiastic commitment to LGBT equality and inclusion!

Network congratulations to our new DPCC David Sidwick on his election:

The Network is very pleased to provide our congratulations to David Sidwick on his election — — as our new Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner (DPCC). David has as early as 2019 engaged directly with the Network on the particular policing, ASB hate crimes, and prejudice experiences that in May 2021 still are all too commonplace for many members of our community.

In particular, much more recently we engaged with David in regard to support should he be elected, concerning the particular needs of our Dorset & BCP area LGBT+ & LGBTQ homeless community, and we were delighted to learn that the Network’s initiative in support to our LGBT+ & LGBTQ community is one that if elected, David will be supporting in all relevant ways and areas if elected:

David is also supporting the Network on our activity to extend the Ask for Clive (AfC) initiative, we are very pleased to share.

On 12th May, Alan Mercel-Sanca, Network lead founder and Lead Officer, had a meeting with David, in which important discussions took place on the two initiatives above and broader LGBT+ & LGBTQ Dorset & BCP, DPCC relevant areas of activity. The outcomes of the discussions were very exciting.

The Network also wishes to commend that the Green Party DPCC candidate Ms Claire Seymour (a former police officer), was in addition to Dave the only DPCC candidate to contact us and engage in detail. We really appreciate Claire’s engagement too, and the particular points of support to and respect for our Dorset & BCP LGBT+ & LGBTQ community are ones that we will be looking forward to represent to our new DPCC in the months ahead.

The Network is delighted to provide a Pan-Dorset LGBT+ community support commitment statement from Ms Claire Seymour, DPCC Green Party Candidate

The Network is very pleased to share the statement below from Ms Claire Seymour, Green Party Candidate for the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner (DPCC) election on 6th May, further to a greatly appreciated contact and valuable engagement the Network has received and had Claire. 

It gives great pleasure to see through the statement how Ms Seymour has provided a solid commitment to, if elected, supporting LGBT+ communities (and our ethnic minorities/BAME, disabilities communities, and both genders).  This in helping our friends at Dorset Police, and more generally related statutory sector organisations such as the two local authorities (Dorset Council and BCP Council) in the pan-Dorset area to further advance meaningful, tangible, non ‘tick box’ support for the more vulnerable and isolated sections of our community.  

It has given us also much happiness to see that Claire has also engaged with our independent LGBT+ community registered activist partner and friends at Bourne Free.

“It is a great pleasure to have spent time with the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network that I have learned is evolving to a national level LGBT+ and Allies organisation which is a great credit to Dorset, and with Bourne Free whose work is so central to our LGBT+ communities’ welfare.  This talking with both about some of the important work going on to strive to live in an inclusive community now, and for generations to come.

There has been an increase of reports in hate crime recorded by our Police constabularies over the last 5 years, and as a candidate for Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, one of my pledges is all around building inclusive communities and ensuring we tackle crimes and anti-social behaviour motivated by hate, including online and in the workplace. In my role as an Anti-social Behaviour Manager, I see first-hand the enormous impact hate crime can have on an individual, families’ and communities.

I believe Dorset needs a strong message that hate and prejudice will not be tolerated in our communities, and if I am successful, I am determined to build on engagement and awareness for all ages, minority communities and both genders, which is ever more important with the disruption caused by and impacts of Covid 19, in particular for our young people to have the right support, guidance and awareness in place for positive engagement.

We also need to continue striving for effective grassroots representation at every level within our public services, and there needs to be a real focus on reporting, confidence in reporting process, and an adequate action to create positive change. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns”. 

Claire Seymour 

Green Party Candidate for Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner

You can read more about Claire’s vision for and commitments regarding if she is elected as DPCC at:

Mrs Seymour is now the second DPCC candidate that has taken the time to reach out to the LGBT+ pan-Dorset community through the Network; the other being some time ago Mr David Sidwick, the DPCC Conservative candidate that connected with us to our great appreciation back in 2019.

The Network is a Party Politics free charity, that encourages all political parties to take a meaningful, tangible stand with our more bullied, discriminated against community members, and to avoid ‘going through the motions’ tick box LGBT Ally positions.

Rainbow Lottery launch — Network participation and support:

The Network is delighted to share the exciting news of the launch of the Rainbow Lottery, the UK’s first national level lottery dedicated to supporting LGBT+ good causes.

We were delighted to be contacted a few days before the launch of the Rainbow Lottery website, by its lead Mr Tom Gattos — who had heard of the Network, our initiatives, and especially the effectiveness of our work for community members from more overlooked, isolated, or particularly vulnerable LGBT+ communities — requesting to become of the Rainbow Lottery good causes and attend the website launch.

The Network is thrilled to have been contacted by Tom, and to be one of the causes the Rainbow Lottery supports. Rainbow Lottery is particularly important because it enables independent, activist and grassroots LGBT+ community supporting organisations to keep independent and extend the assistance we provide to many in our community that have come to regard as effective and respected. This because we combine in all we do both a focused ‘can do’ solutions orientated approach, and at the same time where needed (and it often is) ‘speaking truth to power’ and challenging ‘tick box cultures’ where they stand in the way of meaningful change.

From 22nd April (save the date!) you will be able to sign, play, and support Rainbow Lottery good causes such as our work at the Network! Please visit to learn more.

Census Day 2021 — Network support actions for our LGBT+ & LGBTQ communities, further to recent announcements on our pan-Dorset/BCP area Census participation by our communities:

On Thursday 11th March in a follow up to a flagging up email communication of a couple of weeks earlier (middle of February), the Network is pleased to update that in support of maximising pan-Dorset/BCP area Census 2021 LGBT+ and LGBTQ members participation, we requested support at senior level from the following public service, local authority, educational organisations, and from a Third Sector organisation, detailed below.  In support we also provided a related Network link to a supportive resource on our website (  

BCP Council

Dorset Council

Dorset CCG

Dorset Healthcare

Dorset Police

Public Health Dorset

United Hospitals Dorset
Bournemouth & Poole College  

Dorset Healthwatch

Bournemouth University

Weymouth College

Dorset Mind

Community Action Network

Dorset Community Action

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner

Prejudice Free Dorset

Some of the organisations are already kindly taking action on the request – such as in a recent very high-level meeting with Dorset Council, and Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust, and others.  

The Network wishes to highlight in particular Dorset CCG’s response and action by the CCG’s CEO relayed to us by the organisation’s Deputy Director of Engagement and Development:

‘Just dropping you a quick note to let you know the [CEO] has mentioned the Census in his blog to all staff. He has also shared a link to your website as below too [please see the link above]’

We wish to rightly praise the CCG and its CEO for their greatly appreciated action, and also those who are taking or have taken action on our/Network request.

In late April/early May we will provide a further update on the outcomes of the Network request which has been welcomed by Community members, as valuable and very timely. 

We believe a joined-up approach on this historic moment and opportunity for our community members support and benefit — of the first ever Census where sexual orientation and gender identity have been including — is powerful in it’s potential for much needed change.  This especially when enabled by a community organisation such as the Network that has a respected constructive solutions to issues, critical friend role in support for our LGBT+ and LGBTQ communities in being heard, valued, respected and supported; it has given the Network great happiness to have played its role in this. 

The Network, initiated the collective messaging request to not only support, where taking place, dedicated outreach of our friends in all of the organisations listed above, but especially to prepare for the post-Census completion data analysis phase. This being the most important stage of Census 2021, as it concerns what innovations and/or changes need to be made at local, and organisation-specific level on LGBT+ & LGBTQ supportive services from 2022 onwards for and to benefit our LGBT+ & LGBTQ communities.

We are also pleased to update that in a number of national level directions (such as NHS England) our work in regard to the Census, especially on the mental health related questions of the Census (particularly questions 22 and 23) have been being received very positively, and we understand will be contributing directly and positively at national policy level where Census 2021 and the data it collects is concerned.  This something that we are delighted will assist at UK Government policy development, and relevant Parliament Select Committees levels. 

In regard to the above, ahead of announcements later next month, we are also delighted to share that because of the substantial more national level, special areas of particular LGBT+ community sub-population groups – who are often overlooked in service support provision — nationally to locally relevant support work that the Network has been providing in the past three years at Parliament and other national levels and in some cases in the pan-Dorset area and SW England  region, that the Network as an organisation will be evolving from mid-late Spring in it’s structure and outreach.

Mastermind outreach to the Network to maximise LGBT+ participation in the famous BBC2 programme

The Network has been contacted by Hatrick Productions, producers of the world famous ‘Mastermind’ experts in specialist subjects quiz (we helped with promotion to our LGBT+ community about three years ago as well). We are really pleased that Mastermind is outreaching to our LGBT+ community, and we are going to be suggesting that in the next series (details and how to become a contestant are provided below) a dedicated set of LGBT+ questions are included in some of the series programmes.

BBC Two’s Mastermind is currently scouring the UK to find contenders for the next series which will be filmed in Belfast!

We would appreciate if you could please share our attached flyer and details on how to apply amongst your friends, family and colleagues.

Although applications close on Monday 24th May 2021 at midnight, we would encourage you to apply as soon as possible as casting is currently under way.

Entry is open to all UK residents (including Channel Islands & the Isle of Man) who are aged 18 or over.

Hat Trick/Hindsight are committed to making programmes as inclusive as possible.

Please email to request an application form (it takes just 10 minutes to complete).

CORONAVIRUS: Throughout the casting period, the safety and wellbeing of all applicants, contributors and members of staff remains our number one priority.

Filming will take place later this year adhering to government guidance.

Many thanks for your assistance!

The Mastermind Casting Team

Request to all BCP area and Dorset LGBT+ & LGBTQ community members to share their input to Census 2021 and have their voices heard:

The LGB&T (LGBT+) Dorset Equality Network has developed some important guidance information as a result of liaison with the Census and pan-Dorset/BCP LGBT+ and LGBTQ community members and community organisations to support maximum participation in the Census, which is a once in a decade opportunity to impact on providing data that can influence improving the public services we receive, and much more. 

To support participation the Network has developed an information page which can be accessed here: the page covers the following need to know & why you should provide answers to the main LGBT+ and LGBTQ relevant questions:

  • Census Questions of importance to LGBT+ community members
  • Confidentiality & the Census
  • Benefits of taking part in the Census

This webpage and the information page mentioned has been provided to pan-Dorset statutory and public sector organisations (the two pan-Dorset area local authorities, NHS organisations, Dorset Police, and others) and the ONS on points that community members have contacted the Network on about some of the Census questions, and other points the Network has noticed. 

This request from the Network is for a pan-Dorset/BCP multiagency supportive LGBT+ community supportive messaging campaign by the organisations contacted (listed below).  For their staff/team members, and public communication to their service users, to play their parts together and individually, on illustrating in this timely and tangible way, commitment to support for our LGBT+ and LGBTQ communities at this historic moment of the first ever Census to include sexual orientation and gender identity questions. 

As a part of this messaging initiative we provide this information link — — and reference to the national #ProudToBeCounted initiative (information image below):

And this valuable visual from Pink News:

We/LGB&T (LGBT+) Equality Network believe that by taking this coordinated multiagency outreach approach the LGBT+ community support policies and activities that many of the organisations listed above have, can be much more effectively highlighted to the general public, and especially to our LGBT+ and LGBTQ community members using their services.      

The LGB&T (LGBT+) Dorset Equality Network has been Proud to in the past three weeks (late February to March 5th) to have connected the pan-Dorset/BCP area Census field officer, with all of the core pan-Dorset LGBT+ community organisations, from amongst others, Bourne Free LGBT+ Pride organisation, Weymouth Gay Group, Communi-T, Proud Cherries, Silver Moments and NHS LGBT+ staff networks.

Until our support on this crucially important outreach credibility matter, the Census only had contact with three LGBT organisations: one a dedicated pan-Dorset organisation, and two others that are regional level providing services in the pan-Dorset area rather than exclusively local to our area.  We have been Proud to resolve this important Dorset & BCP area LGBT+ community engagement outreach challenge at this very important time for both our Community and the ONS/Census.

As a result, instead of minimal direct pan-Dorset LGBT community outreach (which unfortunately happens sometimes) all the core pan-Dorset LGBT+ community groups and organisations have now been reached by the Census, maximising potential Community participation.

Census questions that are directly or indirectly LGBT+ related – guidance on and encouragement to complete these questions by LGBT+ and LGBTQ community members

The Network, which is an independent, LGBT+ community respected LGBT+ community supportive organisation, based in the pan-Dorset area but with national & parliament level respected outreach in it’s advisory services, is pleased to provide the following information for the pan-Dorset LGBT+ and LGBTQ communities on Census 2021. 

We ask all LGBT+ and LGBTQ community members to involve in the Census, and in support to this if and where able provide responses to the historically important sexual orientation and gender identity Census questions 26 and 27, but also on the mental health related questions (22 and 23) where relevant. 

We assure too, that in conjunction with core grassroots and larger [such as the nationally important Bourne Free LGBT+ Pride] organisations, pan-Dorset (the Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole conurbation) we work with, that we are following up on ensuring that your answers on the Census will make a difference to statutory & public service organisations and educational/further education colleges, will make a difference.

The information below covers need to know details on:

  • Census questions
  • Confidentiality
  • Why take part in the Census LGBT+ and LGBTQ relevant questions:

Questions – guidance & information:

Questions 26 and 27:

These are the two questions of historically important significance for our sexual orientation and gender minority communities. However, there are other questions of particular direct relevance and importance to our LGBT+ and LGBTQ communities; these are highlighted in their own sections after Questions 26 and 27 below.

Q26: Which of the following best describes your sexual orientation?  This question is voluntary

Guidance note:

Why we ask this question

Your answer helps your local community by allowing charities, public bodies, and local and central government to understand what services people might need.

This information helps monitor equality between groups of people of different sexual orientation. Your answer will help public bodies to identify discrimination or social exclusion based on sexual orientation and work to stop it from happening.

This is the first time that the census in England and Wales has asked this question.

This question is voluntary, so you can leave it blank if you prefer. We ask this question of people who are aged 16 years and over.

It’s up to you how you answer this question. Select only one option from the following:

  • “Straight or Heterosexual” means that you’re only attracted to people of the opposite sex
  • “Gay or Lesbian” means that you’re attracted to people of the same sex
  • “Bisexual” means that you’re attracted to more than one sex*
  • “Other sexual orientation” lets you enter your own answer, for example, pansexual or asexual. This is also voluntary, so you can leave it blank if you prefer.

* NOTE: this can be confusing, as it traditionally means attracted to the opposite sex and your own sex.  Being attracted to more than one sex, without specifying just the two, or how many sex/gender types one is attracted to sexually is more appropriate for the final option “Other sexual orientation” with for example responding ‘pansexual’ which can mean all the sexual orientation options such as gay, heterosexual, trans/intersex, etc.

Do not record your gender identity or relationship status here

The next question [27] is about the gender you identify with.


Q27: Is the gender you identify with the same as your sex registered at birth? This question is voluntary

Guidance notes from the ONS: — Guidance on how to identify in the sex question:

Please also see:

Guidance for intersex respondents for sex question

The guidance provided applies to all respondents considering how to answer the question.

Why we ask this question:

This question is voluntary, so you can leave it blank if you prefer. We ask this question of people who are aged 16 years and over.

It’s up to you how you answer this question.

Select “Yes” if:

you identify as female and your sex registered at birth was female

you identify as male and your sex registered at birth was male

Select “No” if:

your gender identity is different to the sex recorded on your birth certificate when you were born, for example if you’re transgender or non-binary


The other questions in the Census of direct, major LGBT+ and LGBTQ communities’ importance:

Q25: ‘If you are aged 16 or over …’

Why are sexual orientation and gender identity questions for people aged 16 and over only?

What if someone under 16 answers?

This is the most controversial aspect of the Census for LGBT+ and most of all LGBT’Q’ [‘Q’ meaning Questioning, people on route to self-identifying/Coming Out to themselves as belonging to a sexual orientation or gender minority community] communities.  This regarding the sexual orientation and gender identity sections of the Census, and Network discussion with the Census has confirmed concern about aspects of this exclusion decision.  We include two notes on this below for ONS and public & statutory sector service providers, information.

NOTE on impacts of exclusion of LGBT+ 14 – 16 year olds:

When combined with Q22 (that covers mental health) and given still all too common for this age group, bullying experiences and the coinciding with these years being particularly important in terms of self-identifying/Coming Out to Oneself [and potentially others] as LGB or T, the ONS by deciding not to give the 14 – 16 age bracket a voice (for the e-version of the Census form with its PIN code could have been provided safely to enable them to complete if for example they had homophobic parents or family/household settings). 

Consequently, mental healthcare service providers, general practices (that LGBT+ people are entitled to request counselling support from on issues around Coming Out, or prejudice and bullying impacts), and especially middle school and FE college education providers would all have been able to benefit directly from such data if it had been allowed to be collected by the ONS. 

The network has informed ONS of this concern, and relevant statutory sector and FE age group service providers in the pan-Dorset area so that they can better engage with the issues involved – this action we believe will be of major LGBT+ engagement & support benefit for these service providers.

The Mental Health related questions (Q22, and Q23):

Question 22: ‘Do you have any physical or mental health conditions or illness lasting or expected to last 12 months or more?’ 

Guidance & analysis: This is a particularly important question for many LGB or T community members as, many of these suffer disproportionately in regard to poor mental health due to family rejection, negative religious [such as victims of Conversion Therapy] or cultural factors, prejudice being attacked and/or verbally abused, direct and indirect discrimination, all of which leave mental health scars, particularly if there is an element of trauma around a specific experience, or through insidious effects of being subject to long-term indirect discrimination. 

It is in the interest of LGBT+ community members to be in doubt to answer YES to this question if at the time of completion they are subject to any of the experiences above, and it is causing depression/low mood in particular, and in some cases suicidal ideation.

Question 23: ‘Do any of your conditions or illnesses reduce your ability to carry out day to day activities?’  

Guidance Note from the ONS regarding this question:

What we mean by day-to-day activities:

Day-to-day activities include everyday tasks, for example eating, washing, walking and going shopping.

Confidentiality, and compulsory and voluntary elements of the Census:

The LGB&T (LGBT+) Dorset Equality Network wishes to record here our recognition and thanks to the Census pan-Dorset field officer for her extensive engagement with us in support of maximising outreach to our local area LGBT+ communities; we also record our thanks to regional level ONS/Census officers we have connection with through our organisation lead officer.  Such support and engagement is greatly appreciated. 

The Pink News visual below (kindly provided by Weymouth Gay Group) gives a good illustration on the topic of confidentiality, use of data by the ONS, and why take part:


The Census/ONS has provided valuable online, national level clarification on the key subject of confidentiality for our LGBT+ communities, and related assurances and guidance to community members, provided below:

Confidentiality of answers, and individual questionnaire overrides household:

  • Respondents will be able to confidentially request an individual questionnaire or online access code and provide answers independently of anyone else in their household, if they want to.
  • No one in their household needs to be aware.
  • Answers given on an individual questionnaire will override those given about that person in the household questionnaire
Compulsory nature and voluntary elements of the Census:

‘Taking part in the census is a legal requirement. Anyone who lives in England and Wales must fill in the census form by law. …

‘… There are three questions on the England and Wales census that are voluntary. These questions are about religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. The questions about sexual orientation and gender identity will only be asked to those aged 16 years and over.

‘Respondents have a legal right not to answer these questions if they don’t want to. We understand that some people might not want to share their religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. This might be, for example, because of worries about safety or privacy. …

Source: Section 9, page 14 of the Local Authority Guidance: How to help the public take part in Census 2021

Why take part in the LGBT+ and LGBTQ relevant questions:

The ONS (Office of National Statistics), that provides the Census and developed its questions, provides the following information and details below on why everyone should complete the questionnaire and provide as much information possible. The second section of this information resource details direct LGBT+ community reasons for contributing responses that will support better and fuller statutory & public service organisations services that are LGBT+ supportive: the section includes national and Network particulars.

We must note here however as the ONS has not made any reference to the exceptional circumstances attached to those from sexual orientation and gender minorities in regard to whether or not they are Out, that, lacking this reference, it is possible that those who are subject to unconscious bias and indirect discriminatory perspectives may use data to assert there is not a great need for extending LGBT+ individuals support needs. 

The factor of not disclosing (for what the ONS has also recognised potential safety as well as privacy reasons) one’s sexual or gender minority communities membership accounts for why still the vast majority of LGBT+ people are not Out.  In the case of elderly community members this is often in the 80%+ area, but, more encouragingly for 16 – 24 year olds the majority who are not Out is much smaller and constantly diminishing. 

IT IS IMPORTANT THEREFORE TO IF ABLE, SAFELY, TO ANSWER Q26 and/or Q27 as accurately as possible by both LGBT+ and LGBTQ communities members, as the more who do so, the harder will it be for fuller and better support on the services we need or wish to see, including more robust tackling of anti-LGBT+ prejudice in bullying in locations such as schools and workplaces/offices, to be withheld or resisted.

ONS / Census, ‘Why take part’ information:

The following from the ONS explains why – separate to the legal requirement to complete — we should take part in the Census, for our own and communities and societies benefit, and also that the online version has engaged with the need for flexibility and many more options to help the individual completing the questions feel they can express their individuality and life experience much more fully.

‘ … We have designed the census to be easy to complete, and to help others complete, and we provide a wide range of support services to ensure people can meet their legal requirements. …

‘… Asking about religion, sexual orientation and gender identity is important because information from the census helps to plan and fund services. It’s used by businesses, charities and other organisations. Ultimately census information helps to monitor and tackle inequalities. We encourage people to complete these questions in the way they feel best represents them.

‘… We want people to be able to identify as they choose in their census questionnaire. The online census form has a ‘search-as-you-type’ function, which means that a list of possible responses appears as you type. People are not restricted to the tick-box options, and are also free to type in any answer which doesn’t appear on our list.

Source: Section 9, page 14 of the Local Authority Guidance: How to help the public take part in Census 2021

Further information on Q26 from the ONS online guidance notes:

Your answer helps your local community by allowing charities, public bodies, and local and central government to understand what services people might need.

This information helps monitor equality between groups of people of different sexual orientation. Your answer will help public bodies to identify discrimination or social exclusion based on sexual orientation and work to stop it from happening.

Network NOTE: Re Q27, the considerations given in the final paragraph apply equally as strongly to our Trans and Non-Binary communities. 

However, less than two weeks before Census Day (21st March 2021) an important and controversial High Court Judge ruling has been made on the Census guidance for completing the question.

Census 2021: Judge orders change to sex question guidance — Part of the census guidance for England and Wales accompanying the question on a person’s sex should be withdrawn, a High Court judge has ordered.

Campaign group Fair Play for Women argued it unlawfully allowed “self-identification” as male or female…. Source: