Date
26 July 2017
Sexual minorities are criticizing the non-inclusion of same-sex categories in the 2016 census, calling it a form of self-censorship. Photo: Reuters
Sexual minorities are criticizing the non-inclusion of same-sex categories in the 2016 census, calling it a form of self-censorship. Photo: Reuters

Same-sex options ruled out for 2016 census

Hong Kong census authorities are keeping the choices plain and simple.

That means check boxes for marital status will include the usual staple  – never been married, married, widowed, divorced and separated.

But there won’t be separate boxes for same-sex relationship or same-sex cohabitation in the 2016 census, Apple Daily reports.

Sexual minorities are not amused.

They are accusing the government of denying them the right to take part in policy formulation.

And they have sent representatives to a meeting of the census committee to express their concerns.  

The Census and Statistics Department (CSD) said most respondents might be reluctant to disclose same-sex marriage or relationship status in the presence of family members.

That will undermine the accuracy of census data, it said.

Yeung Chu-wing, a spokesperson for Rainbow of Hong Kong, an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) group, said the non-inclusion of the two criteria is a form of self-censorship.

Yeung cited the experience of a member who was told by census takers that he submitted the wrong information in 2011 when he listed his same-sex partner as a spouse.

As a result, the data became unusable, Yeung said.

Meanwhile, Fung Ka-lok, convenor of an anti-gay association, said bisexuals represent a “very small minority”.

He said population policies should not introduce new sex categories inconsistent with nature.

According to the 2011 census, there were 7,495 families of same-sex people not related by blood.

CSD deputy commissioner Stephen Leung said the decision not to introduce new marital status options for same-sex relationship, same-sex cohabitation or third gender was made after consultations with government departments and social welfare organizations.

Leung said census data must be accurate if it is to be useful in formulating government policy.

– Contact us at [email protected]

EL/AC/RA

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe