Think Outside The Box: Census 2011

A national campaign for and by Non-Binary Gendered people.
This is a new campaign and the website is under construction; please bear with us.

Census 2011 and the sex/gender question

What's the issue

Below is a scan of the Census 2011's question on sex/gender, just asking for Sex: Male/Female. This a hugely high profile case of treating non-binary gendered people as non-existent and to a lesser extent transgendered people who's Sex and Gender might not match. It is also a really important way of gathering data and demographics about the country and it's really sad that the opportunity to provide non-binary options and thereby data has been lost. We cannot change this census and there is likely not to be another census but some form of different data collection method so we want to raise awareness of this is and campaign for people to fill the form in in a way that raises this issue (by adding an other both underneath if binary) and reflects their gender (by ticking both boxes and adding an explanation if desired.

What to do

Non-binary people and trans people who do not want to answer just 'Male' or 'Female':

  • Tick both boxes and if you would like add an explanation. You could also add a box 'Other' and tick it but we encourage you to tick both the 'Male' and 'Female' boxes as then this data will be stored and need to be dealt with.

Binary trans people who are happy with giving their binary gender and cis people:

  • Tick the box for your gender and then add a box with the option label 'Other' below, but don't tick it. This raises awareness of the issue while still collecting correct data for you.


  • Phone their helpline on 0300 0201 101 (should be local rate) and ask them what non-binary gendered people should fill in, whether they mean sex or gender and why treat it as a binary given neither is binary. Be warned: the people who answer the helpline have not been given training on these issues - some people have had very transphobic experiences. So only phone if you can deal with ignorance and transphobia, we suggest noting the time of the call and the name of the call handler down for this reason.
  • Write to them, explaining the issues and why this is problematic, feel free to reference this campaign. Their address is: Census Customer Services Office for National Statistics Segensworth Road Titchfield Fareham Hants PO15 5RR
  • Point other's at this page or the facebook event to get the word and the advice out as widely as possible

Binary transgender types: you are able to give your true gender regardless of whatever stage you are at transistion, we know of no reason why the government would cross check this with other records though you may be required to give your legal name.

Where to find out more.

  • The facebook event which started this action about the census off.
  • There is a Shakesville article written by someone involved.
  • A blog post about having been tackling this since before the 2001 census. The rest of the blog is also very valuable.