This piece was originally published on 20 March 2021, the weekend of the decennial census in England and Wales.
This weekend’s census in England and Wales has been overshadowed by a debate on questions of sex and gender identity – Q3 and Q27 to be precise – but rather less has been said about Q26, which for the first time will gather data on sexual orientation.
Since 1801 the decennial census has asked us to state our sex. But never before has such a simple question generated such controversy. Yesterday, it ended up before a high court judge. With the 2021 census less than two weeks away, Mr Justice Swift ruled that the guidance accompanying the question should be changed.