Liberate CEO disappointed at lack of gender question in Sark census

THE absence of a question relating to gender identity in the Sark census is disappointing in today’s society, said Liberate CEO Ellie Jones.

Liberate CEO Ellie Jones. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30757642)
Liberate CEO Ellie Jones. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30757642)

Today is the island’s official census day, the first in more than half a century, and people have had 10 days to fill in forms asking 23 questions relating to such issues as health, marital status, education and employment.

It contains only one question about gender, asking ‘what is your sex?’ and giving the option of male or female.

A spokeswoman for the island’s Policy & Finance committee said Sark had based the questions on those from the last census in the UK.

‘The question within the Sark census is the same as the one in the UK census of 2021, which also required the answer “female” or “male”,’ she said.

While the UK does have a separate optional question about gender identity, this does not appear on the Sark form.

‘The information requested in the Sark census is specific to Sark, and gender identity is not considered relevant to the matters covered in the 2022 questionnaire.’

But Mx Jones said that since there were questions about race in the census, she believed gender identity should also have been addressed.

Sark residents are asked if their ethnic group is white, mixed race, Asian, black or other.

‘I personally believe that any questions about being LGBTQ are just as relevant as questions about race, religion, age etc,’ she said. ‘If they are trying to get a demographic of their population then it’s relevant.’

The last Children and Young People’s Survey in Guernsey showed that 18% of young people identified as LGBTQ+.

Mx Jones said this helped add weight to Liberate’s efforts to make sure that young people receive an LGBTQ+ inclusive education, for example.

UK LGBTQ rights charity Stonewall estimates there are about 600,000 people who identify as transgender, including non-binary, in Britain – about 1% of the population.

Sark has a population of about 500.

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