Friday, 24 September 2010

ONS Gay Survey: A Brand New Myth

The Daily Mail can hardly contain its excitement today.
Their headline? "Only one in 100 Britons is gay despite long-held myth... but 71% of public say they are Christian."
"The first ever official count of the gay population has found that only one in 100 adults is homosexual."
Even The Guardian said that the survey had "found" this ('1.5% of Britons say they are gay or bisexual, ONS survey finds') - as if this was the final word, a real eureka moment.
Utter poppycock!
The survey can only be said to have found that 1% of people who took part in their survey were willing to tell the person conducting the survey that they were lesbian or gay.
Does anyone really think 1% is anywhere near the real figure?
"The figure explodes the assumption - long promoted by social experts and lobbyists - that the number is up to ten times higher than this at one in ten."
Does anyone still believe that 10% of people are gay?
Some gay businesses and marketeers may still push the 1 in 10 myth, but even they don't actually believe it.
Similarly most newspapers claimed that the survey had "found" lesbians and gay men were more likely to be younger, better educated and "middle class" than the general population.
Here's The Guardian's headline; 'Young, educated and middle-class: sexual identity survey profiles typical gay Briton'.
"...The latest detailed figures show that gay people are much more likely to be in managerial or professional occupations – 49% compared with 30% for straight workers - and better educated, with 38% holding a degree. Their age profile is also much younger than the rest of the population, with 66% under the age of 44 and 17% aged 16 to 24."
But you could make an educated guess that all this may actually show is that young people, graduates and middle class people feel it's easier to be out (to a stranger conducting a survey).
Perhaps the worst outcome of this ONS survey is that we will now have to endure a brand new myth; only one in 100 people are homosexual.
Which means we'll be seeing a lot more crap like this from - but of course - the Daily Mail:
"The gay population, while small, is highly educated and economically successful, the survey showed.
"Gays and lesbians are twice as likely as heterosexuals to have university degrees or the equivalent.
"Nearly half of all gays and lesbians work in managerial or professional grade jobs, compared with fewer than one in three heterosexuals."
This is an old argument loved by the Right - how can gay people be considered "an oppressed group" when they're all doing so well?
And thus...
"The figures brought calls from religious groups for less political attention and public money to be spent on meeting the demands for legal protection for homosexuals.
"Mike Judge of the Christian Institute think tank [sic] said: 'A large amount of public money has been spent on the basis of higher figures, which have turned out to be a lie.'"


  1. Perhaps the worst outcome of this ONS survey is that we will now have to endure a brand new myth; only one in 100 people are homosexual.

    And all the nutters seem to be coming out of the woodwork claiming some sort of victory already.
    I was reading a story on MSN yesterday and one commenter was so furious that he couldn't leave his bile on the actual gay population story (comments were not allowed on that, apparently) that he said he had to leave it on a totally unrelated piece - his comment, predictably, amounted to: homosexuality = wrong.

    I've also seen a few people claiming that this should lead to there being less gay people/characters on TV, as - in their view - there's a greater proportion on TV than there is in life.
    This is bullshit. I'd be very surprised if the amount of gay people on TV is more than 1% of the total. But it's a stupid point, anyway. What they really mean is that gay people shouldn't be on TV at all.

    It would be nice to just think that these are a minority of crackpots that have nothing better to do, but it seems like one of these idiots is now Chairman of the Conservative Party.