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Sunday, 26 September 2010

Lies, Damn Lies & Gay Stats!

Illustration: Finbarr Sheehy for the Guardian (Gay Britain: Inside the ONS statistics)

This week, the British media has been abuzz with the the results of a survey conducted by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).  The data apparently indicates that only 1.5% (726,000) of the British population identify as gay or bisexual.  This was based on a doorstep survey conducted on a sample of 263,000 (0.5% of the population).

So, what do these statistics tell us?

•    That only 1.5% of us will admit to being gay when confronted on our doorstep by a stranger with a clipboard.

•    That once again I (and everyone I know) have not been included in a poll.

•    Given the sudden drop in the British gay population – previous figures released by the British government suggested we were 5-7% of the population – maybe this whole deprogramming thing is working.  Our numbers are dwindling; we need to increase our recruitment rate people!

•    That considering the small sample size and that 3% of people did not respond (and that I wasn't asked), drawing any conclusion from these results is foolish.  And using these statistics to influence any policy decisions as some have suggested is idiotic.

If anyone had bothered to ask me (yes, I am a little hurt about that), and if I had deigned to answer the question, I probably would have said that I was straight.  I have only recently stopped lying to myself and my friends about who I am.  My closet was a comfy space complete with cushions and stuffed toys, I doubt a clipboard would have got me out.  And statistically speaking, there must be others out there like me.


Jenny, the Bloggess said...

They probably asked something like "Are you never not gay?" and everyone got confused.

aeryn296 said...

Haha! Yes, you are probably right. :)