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Number of LGB people in UK grows to more than 1 million

The number of lesbian, gay and bisexual people living in the UK has grown significantly in the last year, from 1.7% to 2%, according to new statistics released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In 2016, just over 1 million (2.0%) of the UK population aged 16 and over identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

The 2016 survey found that more males (2.3%) than females (1.6%) identified themselves as LGB and significantly, those aged between 16 and 24 were the age group most likely to identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (4.1%).

The study also found that those who identified as LGB were most likely to be single or never married or civil partnered, at 70.7%.

Emily Knipe, a spokeswoman for the Office for National Statistics said that there had been a “statistically significant increase”:

“In 2016, around 2% of the population identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). This has increased from 1.7% in 2015.”

London was found to have the highest proportion of people who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual which Knipe concluded could be a result of the “relatively young and diverse population” of the city.

According to the Guardian, the LGBT charity Stonewall has suggested the proportion is between 5% and 7% while others have put it as high as one in 10. A Stonewall spokesman told the publication that many LGBT people were still reluctant to come out.

“Although people may feel comfortable answering an anonymous survey, they may struggle to open up about their identity with friends, family or colleagues,” the Stonewall spokesman said.

“To ensure that LGBT people feel safe and supported, it is vital to recognise the discrimination and anti-LGBT abuse that still exists. Our recent hate crime research shows that one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months.”

The sexual identity estimates are based on social survey data from the Annual Population Survey (APS).

The ONS added that “sexual identity does not necessarily reflect sexual attraction or sexual behaviour”, writing that these are “separate concepts that they do not currently measure”.

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Danielle Mustarde

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