One in two hundred?

Figures published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate one in two hundred of the UK’s population to be bisexual. The claim comes from examining the latest “Integrated Household Survey” which includes responses from nearly 450,000 people.

0.5% of those interviewed identified as bisexual. A further one per cent described themselves as gay or lesbian.

However, it’s hard to imagine every bi or every LGB person would have been comfortable openly labelling their sexual orientation to a stranger – having grown up in a culture where being bi or gay can be strongly stigmatised. Reinforcing those concerns, the figures report a much higher level of bi and gay identification among younger people who have lived a greater proportion of their lives in more liberated times.

It is the first time a question on sexual identity has been included in the ONS survey, so even if the figure begs some questions, it marks a huge step forward in counting the lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the UK.