UK Census 21

Hi,

In the weekend just gone it was time for the UK to fill out the census. This time around, things were a little different to the previous decade. The department had taken the option – via feedback and involving trans groups – to improve the data collection and ask about gender identity.

Looking into some of the history around that and on listening to a specialist from local government, it seems there’s very much an interest on how many people in the UK consider themselves to be part of the transgender spectrum and also how they choose to identify. There’s a page about that here.

Having had the conversation with said specialist a few weeks back, as I say down to complete the census – and thankfully online this time around as well 👍 – there was the new option. I did ponder my choice for a little while. Not only what to put in the reply, but what might this mean in years to come?

Well, I went with genderfluid because I’m okay with having male and female aspects about who I am. Plus, there are times when I’m okay being in Richard mode and others when I prefer Lynn mode. So long as I can flex and move between those, I’m doing alright. I sort of exist between both as best I can given my family situation, so perhaps in a perfect world I would mean more towards a blend, occasionally tipping towards bloke mode when I can’t be bothered, and femme when I can. At the risk of using another old joke: the only thing I’m certain of is uncertainty 😁

Life isn’t always about binaries

What the census will reveal over the next year or so, I’m not sure. I am hopeful it shows that when someone says they’re not cisgender, that’s there’s a wide community of ways to identify and it’s not just about medical stuff. The rights trans people seek affect a wide range of people and we are not the enemy. We’re not part of that micro culture that thinks it’s okay to leer, touch, or threaten women. I dare say we’ve felt similar hostility and can very much empathise.

From a very long term view – is it a hundred years before the release? – I wonder what people looking back will think. Will they wonder what being trans or genderfluid meant? Will they look back as we look back at the past and shake our heads at the craziness of the time on why some folk thought it was okay to actively discriminate against minorities.

L x

4 Comments

  1. Hi Lynn,

    I wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog.

    My opinion of the census is labels are constantly changing describing where somebody is on the gender spectrum. There is no measure of where you are and which label fits. This is a very personal thing and where you think you are may not be correct and you may find yourself needing more support in the future. I put female as this doesn’t match my birth gender. I think a tick box asking if your gender matches your birth gender would have been better in terms of quantifying future services for transgender people. It also stops people adding a helicopter for example.

    Sarah.

    1. Hi Sarah. Thanks for taking the time to comment. FWIW, I’m with you on the possibility of both folk posting something silly and that labels/definitions change. On reading the census notes it was all about what’s going on now. That included people stopping with you and how you worked given the COVID19 situation. A snapshot of us all in time perhaps?

      I think a person’s decision on a label is hey personal and irrespective of our community, it’s not unusual for people to have a definition of a word that’s different to others. IMO, that’s one of the risks when business folk say their company values are, for example, strength, flexibility, and service. Does flexibility mean I should do the right thing, make things up as we go along, or ignore the rules I don’t like? 🙂

      On a personal note, for years I’ve been saying I’m trans because the old model of “transexual or transvestite” just didn’t fit. I’m not going to transition and I don’t dress for sexual pleasure (note: no judgment too those who do). I think I’ve written about learning about the term bi-gender, although the word and associated story around genderfluid seems a better fit. A more tidal view where perception of self and needs change over time.

      On listening to members at Chameleons talk about their choices, the answers were quite varied and I am hopeful that the Office for National Statistics will be able to gather useful information from the replies.

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