Sunday, 27 January 2008

1 in 100?

This weekend's newspapers are reporting - with an undertone of homophobic glee - that an Office for National Statistics poll of 4,000 people found that "only" 1 in 100 described themselves as gay or lesbian. So that's the 1 in 10 figure squished, and the 6% the government used when planning for Civil Partnerships.

Read more closely and it becomes a little clearer.

A further 1 in 100 identified as bisexual and 1 in 200 as "other", while 15% were not recorded because the interviewer chose not to ask the question. Yup, this was not some safely anonymous survey by form with layers of anonymising the interviewees in place, it was members of the public being asked directly by a complete stranger whether they were bi, straight or gay.

The real story here is not "only 1 in 100". It's a remarkable 1 in 40 non-heterosexuals who are so comfortably out about their sexual orientation that they don't feel they have to lie when being interviewed by a complete stranger.

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