The Bill will amend the Census Act 1920 to remove the penalty for not responding to new census questions on sexual orientation and gender identity.
This means that the 2021 Census in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland, may include questions on sexual orientation and gender identity, which can be answered on a voluntary basis.
The census is a national survey that takes a snapshot of the population every 10 years. The census questions are updated every so often to reflect changing demographics and lifestyles.
This Bill delivers on the proposals set out in the December 2018 White Paper, Help Shape our Future: The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales, which sets out the UK Statistics Authority’s recommendations that these new questions be included in the 2021 Census in England and Wales, on a voluntary basis.
Adding census questions about gender identity will help obtain statistics about the number of people who identify as transgender. At the moment there are not official statistics about the trans community.
This Bill was introduced by Lord Young of Cookham, from the Cabinet Office.
While debates about gender identity can be complex, this Bill should attract widespread support. By making the questions about gender identity optional, people who object will not have to fill them in.
How to get involved
Contact your MP.
If I don’t act, will it go through?
This is a Government Bill, so it is likely to become law.