Next year's census which has been postponed will ask respondents to tick either male or female to the question “What is your sex?”

Under EU regulation, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) is required to allocate a value of male or female to every census record.  It says

“ The question is mandatory but accommodation may be made for people who have a difficulty with the options provided such as ticking both boxes to reflect this.”

“..the general guidance for this question, as with most others on the census form, will be that it should be answered in respect of (the position on) census night. Guidance in respect of persons who may wish to tick both, or who do not feel that they can tick either option, will be considered as part of the ongoing preparations for next year's census.”

Section 43 of the Statistics Act, 1993 Section 43 covers the furnishing of false information:

Why would the CSO consider the sensibilities of some when any question of “gender identity” can be asked in future and separately to the sex question?

The UK Statistics Authority in a report last month “Methodology for decision making on the 2021 Census sex question concept and associated guidance” points out that

Asked how it will be possible to properly evaluate the number of each sex in the country if both sexes can be ticked by the one person the CSO says that

“It is likely therefore that, as in 2016, where necessary a value will be allocated based on other information provided on the form.”

Ongoing attempts to erase sex

With even healthcare forms now posing such questions as

the reality of biological sex is being ignored in favour of an individual's self-selected “gender identity” which has no bearing on sex which cannot change. This is yet another attempt to slowly boil frogs and replace the reality of sex with the indefinable concept of “gender identity”.  Sex is binary and immutable.

Reason for a census and the risk of subverting its purpose

Since 1841 the counting of the number of males and females in the country has been a fundamental question in this country.

Accurate information about a country and its citizens allows for proper public planning and the provision of services such as education, hospitals and so on.   It's clearly important that the Government knows how many women may need maternity care; how many children may require school places and so on.

“Sex is a significant factor in almost every dimension of social life: education, the labour market, political attitudes and behaviour, religion, crime, physical health, mental health, cultural tastes and consumption  – the list goes on. It is difficult to think of an area of life where sex is not an important dimension for analysis. A lack of sex-disaggregated data often leads to the needs of women and girls being ignored,”

says campaign group Fair Play for Women in the UK which is trying to ensure that biological sex is correctly recorded in the English and Welsh census on March 21st.

If census authorities respond to a user need, not a data need, this risks corrupting the data and subverting the purpose of a census.  It should be possible to require respondents to answer which sex they were born and have a separate question, if needed, to ask what “gender identity” they have.  This would ensure accuracy in data collection without the need to find another way of eliciting the correct information. After all, a woman who “identifies” as a man may still require cervical health screening. A man who “identifies” as a woman may still require prostate treatment.

CSO met with activist groups on this issue

A public consultation process requesting submissions on what should be included as a question in Census 2022 was carried out from October to November 2017. A report on that and the reference to a gender identity question is available here.

Last month The Journal reported that “After a recommendation was made that the 2016 question [on sex] should be kept while further information and research is done, the CSO said that it informed stakeholders and interest groups about what would be included in Census 2022. These included BeLonG To, TENI and the Hate and Hostility Research Group.”

Scottish policy analysis collective Murray Blackburn MacKenzie last month wrote that “As the legislation progressed through Parliament, it became increasingly clear that in planning the questions on sex and gender identity, both the National Records of Scotland and the Office for National Statistics had privileged the views of groups claiming to represent the trans community, over and above groups representing women and relevant data experts.”

In Britain the campaign group Fair Play For Women has launched a High Court challenge against the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for letting respondents to the census next month in England and Wales choose the sex that appears on legal documents such as their passport, despite the fact that in the case of passports, a person’s sex marker can be changed without acquisition of a GRC (Gender Recognition Certificate).

The Daily Mail reported last month that

“The ONS invited responses from 23 transgender people and ‘trans ally groups’ from a sample size of 52. No women’s groups critical of self-identification were invited.
Alice Sullivan, professor of sociology at University College London, said: ‘It’s shocking. The ONS paid more attention to lobbyists than expert social scientists.’”

Fair Play for Women is now trying to “Stop the ONS redefining sex in the Census” and is seeking an urgent interim order from the High Court to force the ONS to immediately remove its unlawful guidance accompanying the sex question in the Census 2021.

“It cannot be wrong to ask people what sex they were born. We need to know it. We need be able to ask it. It really is as simple as that,” says Fair Play for Women.

“Our Chief Statistician should be prioritising facts not feelings and the public needs to trust that our national statistics are free from interference by ideological pressure groups.”