Gendered Intelligence responds to draft Census questions on sex and gender identity

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently launched its guidance about how it will ask about trans, including non-binary,  people’s gender in this year’s rehearsal for the 2021 Census in England and Wales.  We’re optimistic that the 2021 Census will deliver much-needed data on the trans and non-binary population in England and Wales.

The sex question, in place since 1801, will continue to be asked to help ensure robust equalities monitoring for the benefit of public services, such as health. Fortunately, the guidance asks that people respond using their lived sex, whether that corresponds to what is on their birth certificate or not.

This is good news for trans people who may otherwise have been concerned that – in the absence of a fitting system of legal gender recognition – there may have been an expectation to respond with sex as assigned at birth, regardless of the realities of their current, lived experience.

The Gender Recognition Act remains outdated and in urgent need of reform,  meaning many men and women have sexes marked on their birth certificate that do not match the realities of their lived experience.

The ONS guidance hopes to tackle any potential confusion and is welcomed by Gendered Intelligence for allowing trans people to clearly define their sex.

However, non-binary people will, unfortunately, continue to be obliged to respond to the sex question in the census rehearsal with a binary ‘male’ or ‘female’ answer.  The legal obligation to complete all mandatory questions in the Census – of which sex is one – will put some non-binary people in an uncomfortable position.

On a positive note, for the first time there will be a voluntary question on gender identity, offering a space where non-binary status and other aspects of gender identity can be defined.

Gendered Intelligence warmly welcomes the introduction of a gender identity question, allowing policymakers, government and charities to hopefully get a clearer snapshot of how many trans and non-binary people there are in the UK.

Whilst it is disappointing that the question will be asked only of those aged 16 and over – and will not offer any clarity as to what we believe is an acute crisis of under-resourcing for trans children and young people – we welcome the data that will emerge from the census as hopefully illuminating.

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Quality of Life survey 2019

Survey on quality of life for trans and gender nonconforming adults in England returns for 4th year

On Monday, 2nd of September Gendered Intelligence is launching a survey asking trans and gender non-confirming adults in England about their quality of life. This is the 4th annual survey Gendered Intelligence and the Institute of Management Studies at Goldsmiths University of London have run since 2016 as part of a multi-year Quality of Life study.

Take part in the survey.

The survey will run from today until the end of September. We are inviting all trans, including non-binary, and gender nonconforming people aged 18+ in England to take part. It’s important that we get participants from all over England and from a range of backgrounds so the results represent the diversity of experience in our communities. The survey looks at several factors including life satisfaction, mental health, self-esteem, social inclusion and cultural participation. We want to find out where is the best place in England to be trans or gender non-conforming and whether quality of life for trans and gender nonconforming people is improving over time.

We’re running this study because research on transgender and gender nonconforming people is incredibly sparse compared to other minority social groups. Secondly, the research which does exist has been disproportionally focussed on the distress, difficulties and disadvantages experienced by this group. Whilst such research is undoubtedly important for highlighting critical issues, an unswerving focus on the negative aspects of experience means that a more comprehensive understanding of people’s lives has not been achieved.

Our first survey of almost 900 people in 2016 revealed that relative to our cisgender comparison group, trans and gender non-conforming participants had statistically significantly higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression, and lower levels of life satisfaction, self-esteem and social inclusion. However, they also had statistically significantly higher levels of cultural participation.

Internalised transphobia, gender-related discrimination and not being able to be open about your trans status was linked to worse life satisfaction, self-esteem, mental health and social and cultural inclusion. Conversely,  identity pride related to higher levels of life satisfaction, self-esteem, social inclusion and cultural participation

The study is lead by Dr Jo Lloyd,  senior lecturer and researcher in work psychology at Goldsmiths’ Institute of Management Studies (IMS). Jo reflected on why this study is important and what it aims to do:

“In this ongoing project, we seek to advance current understanding of quality of life in transgender and gender nonconforming people in England. Designed in collaboration with Gendered Intelligence, we focus on individual, interpersonal and wider societal factors that may significantly impact several key quality of life indicators, such as health, happiness and connectedness. Using a large-scale, longitudinal data collection method, we hope to gain comprehensive and meaningful insights into the perspectives and experiences of this important social group.”

We know that trans, including non-binary, people face wide-spread discrimination and poor mental health, but there is a distinct lack of research into what is positive about the experience of being trans or gender non-conforming. Through our quality of life study we are building up a detailed picture of the factors that negatively affect trans and gender non-conforming adult in England but also discovering what factors lead to improved life satisfaction.

The survey takes around 20 minutes to complete, and you can take part here.