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Gender and a government that’s lost its census


THE Conservative government’s capture by the transgender lobby is so complete that it seems to be planning to roll out the ideology to every household in the land. Via the census.

Final planning for the 2021 census is being undertaken by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Until now, information about ‘gender identity’ has not been collected by the census. People have been asked about sex in relation to being male or female. As the ONS says, ‘Sex is a core demographic variable, of fundamental importance for a range of census users providing vital information for national and local population statistics’. 

The sex question is mandatory and needs to be answered by everyone. However, for the 2021 census, under current plans, people will receive the following guidance as part of the sex question: ‘A later question gives the option to tell us if your gender is different from your sex registered at birth, and, if different, to record your gender.’

The ONS seems not to realise that probably 95 per cent of the population will have no idea what this guidance means. What is a hard-working family from High Peak to make of it? Actually, could anyone of us coherently explain what this means? The term ‘gender’ was adopted by feminist studies and used to describe the cultural and social expectations around being a particular sex. Across the last few decades the term has gained traction: most people, if they use it at all, use it as an alternative word for biological sex. Those people will read the guidance as saying ‘you can tell us if your sex is different from your sex’.

Of course, our Office for National Statistics is using the term ‘gender’ as the trans lobby use it. But why? Since when has the ONS and the Conservative government become an arm of the trans lobby? 

The trans lobby use ‘gender’ to mean an inner sense of who you are. Because they see this as unanchored from biological sex, they can’t rely on biological sex to describe it. Therefore they have to use vacuous sex stereotypes. Imagine yourself a bit like Barbie in a pink dress – you identify more as female. Feel more like GI Joe and you are more male. If you think I make this up, see this slide from Mermaids, a charity which supports ‘gender non-conformity’ in children and young people. If you look at the first comment below the article you will see that someone called Seth has said: ‘This is, obviously, nonsense. How adults can take it seriously is quite beyond me.’ It is worse than that, Seth. The Conservative government take it seriously. And they want everyone in Hull, Hartlepool, and High Peak to do so too – because they will all read about it in the census. Remember that it is a legal requirement to answer the questions correctly. 

Because the census questionnaire goes to every household, this will be the biggest roll-out of gender identity ideology that the country has seen. Never mind the harmful impact on little girls who don’t like pink or boys who don’t want to be GI Joe. Never mind if they end up on hormones for life, or with brittle bones, or with damaged mental health, or sterile. Mothers will be left to pick up the pieces. Here are the words of one heartbroken mother: ‘My once beautiful daughter is now nineteen years old, homeless, bearded, in extreme poverty, sterilised, not receiving mental health services, extremely mentally ill, and planning a radial forearm phalloplasty (a surgical procedure that removes part of her arm to construct a fake penis)’.This is where the new ideology, now in our census, takes us. 

It gets even worse. In a move that defies logic, the ONS’s planned guidance for the sex question also says: ‘If you are one or more of non-binary, transgender, have variations of sex characteristics, sometimes also known as intersex, the answer you give can be different from what is on your birth certificate.’

So in answering the question about your biological sex, you don’t have to state your biological sex.I hope everyone can see that this does not even help transgender people. Let’s assume that every transgender person decides to answer the sex question according to their trans identification. They then enter the gender identity question the same way. The statistical presence of the trans population disappears! It will show that no one in the entire country identifies their ‘gender’ differently from their biological sex.

Of course we will have no idea how many people choose to do this, and how many people choose to identify a difference. The census will give us no reliable information whatsoever about the transgender population and gender identity, and the wider population information about sex will be, to a degree, inaccurate. But we will have no way of telling how much.

The concerns about this have prompted 80 of the country’s top social statisticians, quantitative social scientists and epidemiologists to push for change. The problems are so obvious that they sent this succinct letter to the Times in December:

‘We are concerned about the proposed online guidance to accompany the sex question in the 2021 census, which advises respondents that they may respond in terms of their self-identified gender. This will effectively transform the sex question into one about gender identity. We are concerned that this will undermine data reliability on a key demographic variable and damage our ability to capture and remedy sex-based discrimination and inequality. We welcome the decision to include a voluntary question on gender identity in the 2021 census in England, Wales and Scotland. Sex and gender identity are distinct and should not be conflated.’

You can see the full list of signatures here. 

A longer version of this letter was sent to the Scottish Parliament and can be read here. 

How can our Office for National Statistics have got into such a muddle? Which Conservative ministers oversee this and how can they be going along with it? We already have a crisis with the exponential increase in the number of young people seeking help with their ‘gender identity’ as they are introduced to the concept online, and in peer groups, and increasingly in our schools. Now the Conservative government want to make it even worse by introducing the concept to every household in the country.

It is time to write to our MPs making sure they know and seeking answers. Making sure they can’t say ‘we didn’t know’ when this is finally recognised for being the safeguarding scandal that it is. 

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Caroline ffiske
Caroline ffiske
Caroline ffiske is a former adviser to the New Zealand Government, served two terms as a Conservative councillor in Hammersmith & Fulham and is currently a full-time mother. She tweets as @carolinefff

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