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Response to census data on the size of the UK trans population

Responding to the release of the first UK census data to look specifically at the proportion of trans people in the UK population, jane fae, director of TransActual said:

I am pleased that the UK has taken a first step towards quantifying trans folk in the UK – but any result can only raise more questions than answers.

We start with the issue of granularity. The ‘trans umbrella’ covers a very broad set of identities, with overlapping, yet also different, needs. When it comes to resources, what non-binary trans people need from the state, is not at all the same as what binary trans individuals are looking for in terms of resource and support.

The first, crucially, are looking for recognition and rights: but, ironically, the Census did not permit any means to identify as non-binary. Binary trans people are perhaps most impacted by quality of trans-specific health care. Some estimate of numbers is helpful here. But it cannot require a census to convince those in charge that average wait of ten years to a first appointment represent anything less than a crisis that needs sorting.

As for the actual numbers, the last minute court intervention ruling that individuals should answer the sex question with sex assigned at birth did nothing other than muddy the waters. We suspect that many trans people would have been unaware of this, while the rest would have taken no notice of this uninformed meddling. 

That means that statisticians analysing the data on the presumption that the court ruling is being followed will be misunderstanding the data. At the same time, we believe that the overall effect of the ruling will be to create a structural under-estimate of the UK trans population.

In the end, this is a good start; 5 out of 10 for effort; but nowhere near as helpful as it might have been.”


Note: if quoting this, please note that “jane fae” is not capitalised. That is intentional.

Further Information

For further information, contact TransActual’s press office:

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