Response 212836947

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Contact details and publishing consent:

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Individual
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Stonewall Scotland
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Mansfield Traquair Centre 15 Mansfield Place Edinburgh
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EH3 6BB
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Community organisation
Ticked Third sector / equality organisation
Private sector organisation
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Public Body, including Executive Agencies, NDPBs, NHS etc
Academic or Research Institute
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Ticked Publish this response
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New topic: Sexual orientation

1a. For what purpose do you require information about sexual orientation? Select all that apply.

Please select all that apply
Resource allocation
Ticked Service planning and delivery
Targeting investment
Ticked Policy development and monitoring
Research requirement
Not used (Go to Question 2)
Other purpose – please specify

1b. Please provide details about your purpose (s)

Please provide details about your purpose (s)
There is a well-established need for public bodies to have access to more information on sexual orientation for developing public policy and planning public services. Public bodies have a duty to advance equality of opportunity between lesbian, gay and bisexual people and heterosexual people, and to eliminate discrimination. Despite this, there is a lack of information to help public bodies fulfil these duties. There is still little accurate or authoritative data on what proportion of the general population identifies as lesbian, gay or bisexual, with estimates varying from 2% (stated by the 2014 Scottish Household Survey) and 6% (stated by the Treasury in 2011, referring to lesbian and gay people). This makes it very difficult to accurately develop policies to reduce these inequalities. There is significant body of research which suggests LGBT people have poor experiences of public services, experiencing discrimination and poor treatment when accessing education services or health and social care. Census information about the health, education, employment and housing of LGB people could help public bodies to reduce these inequalities and improve the services they provide to the LGBT community.

2a. At what geographical level do you require information about sexual orientation? Select all that apply.

Please select all that apply
Ticked Scotland
Ticked Council area
Scottish Parliamentary Region
Scottish Parliamentary Constituency 2011
Westminster Parliamentary Constituency
Ticked Health Board Area
Ticked Community Health Care Partnership
Multi-member Council Ward
National Park
Postcode Sector
Settlement
Locality
Civil Parish
Inhabited Islands
SNS Data zone
Output Area
Other – please specify

3a. Is UK comparability a requirement for you/your work on about sexual orientation?

Please select one item
Yes, essential need
Ticked Yes, some need but not essential
No (Go to Question 4)

3b. What type of comparisons would you require to make? (select all that apply)

Please select all that apply
Ticked Comparisons at similar levels (for example, comparing Council Areas between countries)
Ticked Comparisons at different levels (for example, comparing Council Areas with the UK average).
Other – please specify

3c. Please provide details if possible.

Please provide details if possible.
Comparing information about the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people (such as their housing situation, health, employment and qualification level) across different parts of the UK would allow us to investigate whether and in what ways the lives of LGB people differ across the UK. It would allow us to infer where across the country inequalities in lived experience have successfully been reduced and where inequalities have grown. This could inform policy development and lead to improvements in service provision in order to reduce inequalities experienced by LGB people.

4. Would you analyse information about sexual orientation in combination with any of the 2011 Census topics listed below?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes (please select all that apply from the list below)
No
Please select all that apply
Ticked Housing and accommodation
Ticked Basic demographics
Ticked Household composition
Ticked Migration
Ticked Travel to work
Ticked Travel to study
Ticked Ethnicity
Ticked Identity
Ticked Language
Ticked Religion
Ticked Health
Ticked Care
Ticked Educational attainment
Ticked Labour force and socio-economic classification

5a. Are you aware of alternative (non-census) sources of information about sexual orientation?

Please select one item
No (Go to Question 6)
Ticked Yes - please specify.
Are you aware of alternative (non-census) sources of information about sexual orientation?
The Scottish Household Survey has collected information on sexual orientation since 2011.

5b. Do the alternative source(s) meet your current requirements?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No - please provide details of why the alternative source does not meet your requirements.
please provide details of why the alternative source does not meet your requirements.
Since 2011, the Scottish Household Survey has included questions on sexual orientation. However, the proportion of respondents describing themselves to the interviewer as lesbian, gay or bisexual is less than two per cent, much lower than other, less comprehensive measures would suggest. The SHS also acknowledges that this figure is likely to “under-represent” the lesbian, gay and bisexual population. Face-to-face data collection may contribute to this; LGBT people often experience discrimination and may be unwilling to disclose their sexual orientation to a person they do not know or trust. Potential interviewees might also decline to take part at all for this reason. Lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals are a small and diverse population group, and it is unlikely that a sample of this size would represent them accurately. Census data would be able to give a more accurate picture of the lives of LGB people.

6. Please use the space provided below for any other comments you want to make, relevant to sexual orientation.

Please use the space provided below for any other comments you want to make, relevant to sexual orientation.
There is a strong need for sexual orientation information in order to help policy makers and service providers reduce inequalities experienced by LGB people. The report on Scottish Minister’s Equality Duty also highlighted the need for more data on protected characteristics to be made available from the census, in order to better enable Ministers to meet the Equality Duty and develop policies to improve the lives of people with protected characteristics. Attempts to collect information on sexual orientation through other means, such as the household survey, have been unsuccessful in providing data that is sufficiently accurate or detailed. Given the comparatively small size of the lesbian, gay and bisexual population in Scotland, we believe that only the census is comprehensive enough to provide accurate information. The census also uniquely provides data on enough different variables to provide useful insight on the lives of LGB people, and the inequalities they experience. Other existing sources do not and cannot provide the level of detailed information necessary for to develop policies or improve services for LGBT people. It is increasingly common to monitor sexual orientation, and because of this is becoming increasingly socially acceptable. For example, all public bodies are required to gather personal information from their employees as part of the Specific Equality Duties, and many other workplaces monitor this information as good practice. The last ten years have also seen public attitudes towards LGBT people become much more positive, and it is now much more socially acceptable to be LGBT than it has been in the past. By the time of the next census in 2021, we hope that even more progress will be made in this area. Inclusion of sexual orientation in the census would send a strong message about Scottish Government’s attitudes to lesbian, gay and bisexual people and their commitment to inclusion. All respondents, including LGBT people, have a right to privacy regarding their sexual orientation. Including a ‘prefer not to say’ option with questions relating to sexual orientation would give individuals the option to keep this information private. However, it’s not clear how widely this option would be used. For example,the Scottish Household Survey saw a very low uptake of the ‘prefer not to say’ option . It is possible that respondents would perceive less risk in disclosing their sexual orientation through a digital form, and therefore be even less likely to use this option. Raising awareness about the reasons for collecting this information, and reassuring respondents that their data will be treated sensitively will also increase the amount of useful responses to this question. Including an option that allows individuals to choose to keep their sexual orientation private will respect people’s right to privacy without compromising the quality of the data. There is also little evidence to suggest that including sexual orientation would have a negative effect on overall response rate. A small scale postal survey conducted by the General Register office for Scotland in 2011 experimented with two difference surveys– one including sexual orientation, the other not - and found no difference in response rate between the two. This would suggest that including sexual orientation is not likely to impact on overall response rate.

Additional topic suggestion 1

Topic

Enter your suggested topic:
Trans Identity

1a. For what purpose do you require information about this topic? Select all that apply.

Please select all that apply
Ticked Resource allocation
Ticked Service planning and delivery
Targeting investment
Ticked Policy development and monitoring
Research requirement
Not used (Go to Question 2)
Other purposes – please specify

1b. Please provide details about your purpose (s).

Please provide details about your purpose (s).
Research shows that trans people in Scotland suffer discrimination and harassment, as well as having poor experiences of public services. Despite this, there is a real lack of information available on the lives and experiences of trans people, including the size of the trans population in Scotland. Access to this information is critical in order for policy makers to reduce inequalities, and for public bodies to provide services that meet trans people’s needs. It is also crucial for public authorities in meeting their Public Sector Equality Duty and reducing inequality between trans people and cisgender people. Many trans people will seek medical support (including psychological support) at some point, including through the process of transitioning. Long waiting times for specialist services such as Gender Identity Clinics suggest an astonishing lack of provision or capacity. They also show that as public awareness and acceptance of trans people has grown over the last years, the demand for support from GICs has also rapidly increased. Service provision in this area is likely to need to grow hugely in the coming years in order to meet demand. Census information would give us a more reliable estimate of what proportion of the population is likely to require assistance, and therefore how much resource will need to be invested in specialist support.

2a. At what geographical level do you require information about this topic? Please select all that apply.

Please select all that apply
Ticked Scotland
Ticked Council area
Scottish Parliamentary Region
Scottish Parliamentary Constituency 2011
Westminster Parliamentary Constituency
Ticked Health Board Area
Ticked Community Health Care Partnership
Multi-member Council Ward
National Park
Postcode Sector
Settlement
Locality
Civil Parish
Inhabited Islands
SNS Data zone
Output Area
Other – please specify

3a. Is UK comparability a requirement for you/your work on about this topic?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes, essential need
Yes, some need but not essential
No (Go to Question 4)

3b. What type of comparisons you would require to make? (select all that apply)

Please select all that apply
Ticked Comparisons at similar levels (for example, comparing Council Areas between countries)
Ticked Comparisons at different levels (for example, comparing Council Areas with the UK average).
Other – please specify

3c. Please provide details if possible.

Please provide details if possible.
Comparing information about the lives of trans people (such as their housing situation, health, employment and qualification level) across different parts of the UK would allow us to investigate whether and in what ways their lives differ across the country. It would allow us to infer where across the country inequalities in lived experience have successfully been reduced and where inequalities have grown. This could lead to improvements in service provision and reduce inequalities experienced by trans people.

4. Would you analyse information about this topic in combination with any of the 2011 Census topics listed below?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes (Please select all that apply from the list below)
No
Please select all that apply
Ticked Housing and accommodation
Ticked Basic demographics
Ticked Household composition
Migration
Travel to work
Travel to study
Ticked Ethnicity
Ticked Identity
Ticked Language
Ticked Religion
Ticked Health
Ticked Care
Ticked Educational attainment
Ticked Labour force and socio-economic classification

5a. Are you aware of alternative (non-census) sources of information about this topic?

Please select one item
Ticked No (Go to Question 6)
Yes – please specify.

6. Please use the space provided below for any other comments you want to make, relevant to this topic.

Please use the space provided below for any other comments you want to make, relevant to [insert topic name].
There is currently no source of reliable information regarding the size of the trans population in Scotland, or across the UK. This information is critical in order to inform and justify policy developments that will reduce inequalities experienced by trans people. Because Scotland’s trans population is small and distributed widely across the country, we suggest that only the census is comprehensive enough to provide accurate information on this population. We believe that with growing public awareness of trans people and issues, most people would consider this an acceptable question to include. Informing respondents about the reasons for collecting data in this area would increase the response rate. It is important, however, that this is done in consultation with trans people in order to ensure the acceptability of both the inclusion of the question and suggested phrasing by this community. Whilst asking information about someone’s gender identity is a sensitive matter, it is increasingly common. For example, public bodies are required to gather information on the protected characteristics of their employees. In this instance, the benefit gained for trans individuals and communities through gaining this information easily justifies asking the question. We would be very happy to work with National Records of Scotland to develop phrasing for this question to ensure that it is both sensitive and easy to understand. We would also encourage NRS to consult more widely with trans people and communities on this issue. Changes to additional topics to improve trans inclusion in the Census: The census currently asks for respondents ‘sex’, as opposed to gender. Whilst historically these terms have often been used interchangeably, many people (including trans people) would draw a distinction between the two. Because trans people identify with a different gender to the one they were assigned at birth, asking a trans person their sex would not provide useful or accurate information regarding their gender. Including gender options of ‘male’, ‘female’ and ‘other’ would best enable the census to collect information about non-binary people, making the data as accurate as possible. Asking respondents about gender as opposed to sex could provide some issues with data continuity. However, by conflating gender and physical sex the current questions are collecting inaccurate data about a crucial variable, which poses a greater problem. For example, a trans woman might describe her gender as 'female' but feel like her sex is more difficult to define.

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