The UK census in 2021 was the first in its 220 year history to ask questions about sexuality and gender identity. Today the Office for National Statistics, who are responsible for the census, released their initial data on these two topics in England and Wales. This provides the clearest picture of the LGBTQ+ community the UK has seen.
In the England and Wales, the findings show that 89.4% of respondents identify as Straight or Heterosexual, 3.2% as Gay or Lesbian, Bisexual or Other sexual orientation (LGB+), and 7.5% chose not to answer.
The ONS stats show that, in England and Wales, 0.5% of respondents reported their gender identity is different from sex registered at birth. ONS explains “gender identity refers to a person’s sense of their own gender, whether male, female or another category such as non-binary. This may or may not be the same as their sex registered at birth.” The question allowed people to optionally respond with more detail, such as trans man, trans woman, non-binary or other.
Looking at Downham Market, 2.56%, almost 1 in 40, in the town identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Other. 8.76% in Downham declined to answer this question, higher than the overall 7.5%, no reasons for declining were collected so assumptions can’t be made as to why this is.
Fewer than the nation-wide picture, 0.26% of Downham Market responded to say their gender identity is different from sex registered at birth.
The 2021 census reported that 12,254 people live in the town. The gender and sexuality questions were only asked of over 16s (83.8% in Downham Market), so approximately 234 adults identify as LGB+ and 25 adults as a different gender from sex.