Not asking the right questions 2

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The more I think about it, the more outraged I am that the Scottish Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) would pay to ask fifty questions about discriminatory attitudes in the Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) study and not once use the word 'bisexual' in them. Elsewhere in the same survey the Scottish Government also paid to ask four questions about 'minimum unit pricing'. So, four questions on the lowest price alcohol can be sold for in Scotland and none asking about bisexuality.

The Scottish Government claims that

No one should be denied opportunities because of age, disability, gender identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation. This principle underpins all the work of the Scottish Government

.. but apparently prejudice against bisexuals is a bit less underpinning.

The 2010 SSA survey report does use the word, twice. The first is a reference to an EHCR report:

‘How fair is Britain?’ (EHRC, 2010) showed that some groups of people continue to be under-represented in the UK labour market and face particular barriers to accessing and maintaining employment. For example, in Britain as a whole:
Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are twice as likely to report experiencing unfair treatment, discrimination, bullying or harassment at work compared with other employees.

.. so the EHCR have no excuse for not going 'Oh, and ask about discrimination about bisexuals too'.

The other one is around the numbers of LGB people they found:

.. the proportions of respondents who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual .. were too small to allow for statistically robust comparison of their views with those of others.

Given that this is based on the answers to only one question around identity (the very last one in self-administered section, where all but two of the sexuality-related questions are):

27. Which of the following best describes how you think of yourself?
Heterosexual (‘straight’)

.. obviously this will understate those who have, for example, a bisexual attraction or behaviour but not a bisexual identity. Or in other words, most bisexual people. Especially as people ticking 'other' are not asked to give what sexual identity they do have.

Almost incredibly, when the report gives the figures for those who know someone who is gay or lesbian, there's a note that the totals exclude

people who themselves identified as gay or lesbian.

So bisexual-identified people in the SSA 2010 are lumped together with people with a straight or 'other' sexual identity in relation to whether or not they know anyone who identifies as gay or lesbian. It would certainly be interesting to know how many bisexual-identified people don't, but…

There's the same note attached to the SSA 2015 figures for that, so presumably – the questionnaire used hasn't been published yet – the same identity question is asked there. (Bet it's the last one again too.)

This is what erasure looks like.

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