‘Are you Gender Fluid?’ Council asks sex questions in building survey

Residents have been quizzed on whether they are “Gender Fluid” or “Non-Binary” in a consultation on local infrastructure.

Cornwall Council asked people about how they ‘described’ their sex as part of its “Equality Monitoring Questions”.

But an ex-Mayor of Truro and current councillor criticised the questions, describing them as irrelevant to the issue of a levy on local buildings.

Irrelevant

Councillor Armorel Carlyon told The Christian Institute: “I am disappointed that Cornwall Council feel it necessary to include such irrelevant and what I consider to be offensive questions in their online surveys.”

Mrs Carlyon, who was Mayor of Truro in 1988 and then again in 2004, added: “My sex and gender details have no relevance whatsoever to my response to the consultation on taking the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) forward.

“I am not clear as to who authorised Cornwall Council to include questions of such a personal nature but I sincerely hope that it will not happen again.”

Customers

In the equality questionnaire, which the Council said was optional, users were also asked for their age and to describe their ethnic origin.

The section on sex was the longest, and included a definition of “Gender Fluid” as someone who “feels their gender identity changes over fluctuating spans of time or even within certain environments”.

The Council said its monitoring was important to understand its customers, and to ensure that its “customer base is representative of the wider population of Cornwall”.

Councils have previously faced criticism for surveys which questioned residents about sexuality and transsexualism.

Diversity questionnaires

In Lincoln, allotment holders were quizzed about their sexual orientation, in Norfolk a grandmother faced questions about sexuality after making a query about bins, and in Islington residents were asked whether they were transsexual when trying to join a library.

In 2009, The Christian Institute helped Pilgrim Homes – a group caring for elderly Christians – after it lost funding for refusing to send a sexual orientation questionnaire to its elderly residents every three months.

Later, in 2011, then Communities Secretary Eric Pickles issued statutory guidance to councils which clarified that there is no requirement for them to carry out “lifestyle or diversity questionnaires”.

He said: “At a time when taxpayers are watching their pennies, the last thing councils should be doing is sending out unnecessary and intrusive questionnaires.”

Official figures

Official figures last year stated that 1.7 per cent of the UK population are lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Separately, the number of people who have been issued with a Gender Recognition Certificate since the 2004 Act allowing them to change their legal birth sex is less than 4,500 – around 0.007 per cent of the UK population.

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