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Sexual identity in the UK

ONS infographic explaining the lesbian, gay and bisexual population


Our sexual identity estimates reflect the self perceived sexual identity a person is willing to declare as part of an interview with all members of their household. We ask this question in a sensitive and anonymous way, which allows each person to provide an honest answer to our trained interviewers without other household members knowing their answer. We have carried out development work for this project.

Although the 2010 Equalities Act refers to sexual orientation, we collect information on sexual identity which is how people see themselves at the time the interview takes place. The reason for this is that no single question would capture the complexity of sexual orientation, and a suite of questions would be required to fully collect the different dimensions of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation includes dimensions of attraction and behaviour as well as identity. We know from research, not all those who are attracted to people of the same sex or engage in same sex behaviour, identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Our latest estimates of sexual identity can be found as part of the Integrated Household Survey publication. We work closely with other government departments and charities, who conduct valuable work on sexual orientation, such as the Government Equalities Office and Stonewall.

Categories: People and Places, People, Identity, Sexual Identity
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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