Saturday, 25 September 2010

One in two hundred?

So, are there really one hundred and ninety seven straight people for every bisexual, lesbian and gay man?

BiMedia reports:
Figures published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate one in two hundred of the UK’s population to be bisexual. The claim comes from examining the latest “Integrated Household Survey” which includes responses from nearly 450,000 people.
0.5% of those interviewed identified as bisexual. A further one per cent described themselves as gay or lesbian. 

However,  if you knocked on most people's doors and asked their sexual orientation, when their families or partners may be there, I reckon you won't get an honest figure.  And interestingly another four per cent or so refuse to answer or picked another label than gay, straight or bi - now just consider the number of people who are LGB from a behavioural or attraction viewpoint whose identity is other or consciously unlabelled, but whose lives are made much easier by LGB equality and liberation activists' work.

The figure for homosexuality is double that for bisexuality; given how much more social acceptance, recognition and visibility the one has over the other that is easy to understand.

Still, crucially, this is a strong, authoritative figure to work with as a baseline for identity.  Though 1 in 200 would mean just 2,300 bisexual people in the whole of Manchester - with some 800 or so people having been through its doors, you'd have to say that with BiPhoria is doing an amazing job of reaching such a large proportion of Manchester's bis if that is true!


  1. I have to say that I find that statistic somewhat doubtful. A good nine tenths of the people I know are bisexual or similar, and my social circle is obviously a representative sample of the Great British Public. Obviously.

  2. This is a suspect set of statistics... particularly in how results were collected and then reported. First, it seems only 1 member of a household was asked to stand as representative of the entire household. So if my partner (straight) answered instead of me (bi) they would get entirely different statistics about the individuals in our home. But then this 'household' survey is being used to assess numbers of 'individuals' existant in the nation? Not entirely sensible approach to finding the truth.

  3. "The figure for homosexuality is double that for bisexuality..." -- yes, but put another way: the ONS claims make bisexuals a full 1/3rd of the entire LGB population of Britain! Stats are funny things. You can make them say a lot without ever changing the numbers.

    That said, there are numbers and there are numbers. These numbers are so low as to raise red flags for any serious thinker or policy maker. The stats released the same week in the US makes the LGBT pop of the USA circa 8% -- now, no one's gonna tell me that the USA is more queer than Britain ;)