1.5 million in England and Wales identify as LGB+

Figures show that around 1.5 million people in England and Wales identified as LGB+ in the 2021 census – 3.2% of those aged 16 and over.

And 262,000 people said their gender identity was different from the sex registered at birth, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

This represents 0.5% of the population aged 16 and over.

2021 Census data for England and Wales are released in stages over two years.

Data on sexual orientation and gender identity were included for the first time, and people aged 16 and over were asked to provide this information on a voluntary basis.

In total, the question about gender identity was answered by 45.7 million (94.0%) of the population aged 16 and over, and the question about sexual orientation was answered by 44.9 million people (92.5%).

Of the 262,000 people who said their gender identity was different from the gender registered at birth, 118,000 gave no further details.

About 48,000 (0.1% of the population aged 16 and over) identified as trans male and 48,000 (0.1%) identified as trans female.

In total, 30,000 identified as non-binary, and another 18,000 wrote in a different gender identity.

When asked about their sexual orientation, 43.4 million people (89.4% of the population aged 16 and over) identified themselves as heterosexual or heterosexual.

About 748,000 (1.5%) identified themselves as gay or lesbian, 624,000 (1.3%) as bisexual, and 165,000 (0.3%) chose “Other Sexual Orientation”.

Of those who chose the latter category, the most common responses were pansexual (112,000, 0.23%), asexual (28,000, 0.06%), and queer (15,000, 0.03%).

ONS director Jen Woolford said the first census estimates were “crucial”, adding: “They will provide decision makers with the best information to better understand the extent and nature of the disadvantage people may experience in terms of educational outcomes, health, employment and an apartment.

“This is only the first photo. In future analyses, we will explore sexual orientation and gender identity based on key demographic variables such as age and gender, among others, as well as employment, health, education and ethnicity.”

London was the region in England with the highest proportion of people who said their gender identity was different from their registered gender at birth (0.91%).

The capital also had a higher proportion of people identifying as trans men (0.16%) and trans women (0.16%) compared to England and Wales.

It was also the region with the highest percentage of people identifying as LGB+ (4.3%), while the local authority with the highest percentage was Brighton and Hove (10.7%).

Charity Stonewall said the publication of data on sexual orientation and gender identity in the census “means that our country knows itself a little better today”.

Chief Executive Nancy Kelley said: “Over the last two centuries of our national census data collection, LGBTQ+ people have been invisible and the stories of our communities, our diversity and our lives have disappeared from national records.

“Today marks a historic step forward after decades of Stonewall’s campaign to record sexual orientation and gender identity in the census, finally painting an accurate picture of the diverse ‘Rainbow Britain’ we now live in, where more and more of us are proud to be that , who we are”.

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