The Rainbow Project has welcomed the release of NI census results around sexual orientation but has expressed its disappointment that the Northern Irish census did not include questions on gender identity.
Historically, there has been limited official data or research about the number of people who identify as LGBTQIA+ in the UK, so the inclusion of census questions around sexual orientation for all residents aged 16+ is very significant. The Rainbow Project’s research identified two overarching common themes of isolation and invisibility as causes of inequality within the LGBTQIA+ community. The inclusion of questions about sexual orientation and gender identity allows for greater visibility and understanding of the diverse experiences of LGBTQIA+ people within Northern Ireland.
John O’Doherty, Director of the Rainbow Project said:
“The LGBTQIA+ Community have always existed in Northern Ireland, but we have been a hidden population. This is partly due to repeated failures by government and public bodies to carry out their statutory duty to collect and record data on sexual orientation and gender identity. Today’s release is a meaningful first step towards ensuring all LGBTQIA+ people are counted and visible within our society, but there remains much to be done.
“While this is an important first step towards ensuring all LGBTQIA+ people are counted, today’s release should be viewed as a baseline – and not a full reflection of LGBTQIA+ populations in Northern Ireland. The 2021 census provided an opportunity to record and report on the numbers of LGBTQIA+ people across the UK. We are disappointed that changes were not made to allow for gender identity data to be gathered in the Northern Ireland census leaving a further gap in the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people.”
Aisling Playford, Policy and Advocacy Manager at The Rainbow Project said:
“The census data on sexual orientation will help us to ensure that policymakers, service providers and community & voluntary sector organisations understand the needs of LGBTQIA+ people and can help us to develop tailored services to address inequalities experienced by this community and to help LGBTQIA+ people achieve their full potential. The Rainbow Project will continue to focus on greater inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in the development and implementation of policies, services and strategies and ensure that these are working to improve the lives of all people. We will continue to work to ensure that LGBTQIA+ people can access dedicated specialist services when they need them, regardless of their location in Northern Ireland.
Notes to editor:
- For press queries please contact Aisling Playford, Policy and Advocacy Manager. Mobile:07770 436481 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- On Tuesday 21 March, the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency published a further set of statistics from the 2021 census. For the first time data on sexual orientation was collected as part of the census. Please find more information here – https://www.nisra.gov.uk/
- Key information regarding the Transgender community was gathered by the inclusion of gender identity questions in the England and Wales census. Their January 2023 release stated that over 262,000 people said their gender identity was different from their sex registered at birth. Please find more information on Gender identity: age and sex, England and Wales here – https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/culturalidentity/genderidentity/articles/genderidentityageandsexenglandandwalescensus2021/2023-01-25#:~:text=There%20was%20a%20higher%20proportion,than%20in%20Wales%20(0.40%25
- Comparison table to England and Wales – https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/culturalidentity/sexuality/bulletins/sexualorientationenglandandwales/census2021
|Straight or Heterosexual||43,403,110||89.4||1363859||90.0||0.7|
|Gay or Lesbian||747,805||1.5||17713||1.2||-0.3|