Grandmother with bin query asked: are you a lesbian?

A grandmother who complained to the council about its bin collection service was sent a questionnaire asking if she is a lesbian.

Following her complaint Richenda Legge was shocked to receive a “customer survey” asking highly personal questions about her gender, ethnicity and religion.

But the happily married 56-year-old “really saw red” when quizzed on her sexual orientation.

Lesbian

She said: “I thought the survey was going to be about the bin service and might even explain why my rubbish was not collected when it should have been.

“Instead it asked me things like my employment status, disability and religious belief. But I really saw red when I read the question about my sexual orientation.

“There was a choice of heterosexual and straight, gay woman/lesbian, bisexual or ‘other’.”

The survey was sent after Mrs Legge asked why one bag of rubbish had not been collected by bin men. North Norfolk District Council has now vowed to scrap the “intrusive” form.

Services

Conservative Councillor Helen Eales said: “The rules state we must demonstrate as a local authority that we are being fair to everyone – but I fail to see how knowing that a transsexual called us about their wheelie bin would help us in any way at all.

“At the moment it is still a legal requirement for us to carry out equality monitoring under rules brought in by the Labour government.”

She added: “The forms are of no practical use whatsoever – we don’t look at it for any other purpose even though it might be helpful for us to know how to target our services efficiently.”

However, a spokesman for North Norfolk District Council said: “The questionnaire is completely optional and the questions are used by most public bodies across the country.”

The spokesman added: “We are naturally sorry to hear Mrs Legge was offended and we can assure her that no offence was intended.”

Allotment

Last year it emerged that anyone who wanted to apply for an allotment in Lincoln would be asked by council officials about their sexual orientation.

Lincoln Council also wanted to know the race, religion, gender and disabilities of allotment applicants, in a questionnaire provoking frustration among fruit and vegetable growers.

A spokesman from the Boultham Allotments Association said sexual orientation should be irrelevant.

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