Library survey asks kids as young as six about sexuality

Thu, 17 Jan 2013

Children as young as six have been asked to identify their sexuality and say whether they’ve had a sex change, as part of a survey about a local library in Portsmouth.

The survey by Portsmouth City Council on the future of Cosham Library was put through residents’ doors, posted on the Council’s website and circulated to officials.

But children were among those asked to identify their sexuality and say whether they were still the same sex they had been “assigned” at birth.

Ridiculous

Mum-of-two Haley Storey, 42, lives in Cosham. She said: “The questionnaire was open to my children who are six and nine. They had seen the question and wondered what on earth it meant.

“They are ridiculous questions to ask anybody anyway because they are nothing to do with the library.

“So to encourage children to take part in the questionnaire is even more ridiculous.”

Inappropriate

Kate Jewell, 38, also a mum-of-two, said: “I don’t think many children would understand what that meant. I don’t think that asking under 15s that kind of question is appropriate. The question is irrelevant.”

City councillor Donna Jones said: “It’s completely inappropriate that the council is asking people their sex at birth and their sexuality.

“I don’t see what relevance that has to the library usage.

Disappointed

“I’m disappointed that from the questions asked they have failed to ask if you are signed up to the library and how often you use the library and what for.”

Leader of the Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson conceded that it was wrong that these questions were asked.

“From my knowledge, there were only three questions in it. I have no interest in the rest of it. It’s completely irrelevant”, she said.

Irrelevant

“I don’t think that questions about sexuality are appropriate or relevant for youngsters.

“We have taken the questionnaire off the website and if we’re doing surveys with youngsters in the future then we will not ask about their sexuality.”

In November allotment holders in Leeds were asked by council officials about their sexual orientation, in a survey branded “ridiculous” and “intrusive”.

Councillor Ron Grahame joined allotment-holders in criticising the surveys said sexual orientation has nothing to do with gardening.

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