One in 20 under-35s in Bedford identify with LGB+ sexuality

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215 people said they were transgender

One in 20 people in Bedford aged under 35 identify with an LGB+ sexual orientation, new census figures show.

Stonewall said the latest census breakdown shows that with each passing generation, more people feel safer coming out as LGBT+ and live as their true selves.

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Over 4,000 of Bedford residents identify with LGB+ sexual orientation
A rainbow flag is held aloft at the Pride in London paradeA rainbow flag is held aloft at the Pride in London parade
A rainbow flag is held aloft at the Pride in London parade

The census data shows 1,040 people aged between 16 and 24 years old in Bedford said they identified with a sexuality other than heterosexual when the census took place in March 2021, alongside 1,135 aged 25 to 34.

It means about 5% of those aged under 35 in Bedford said they identified with an LGB+ sexuality.

Additionally, the data shows females in Bedford were more likely to identify with a minority sexuality – with 2,280 saying they were not straight compared to 1,720 males.

The category LGB+ covers people identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual, as well as pansexual, asexual, queer or any other sexual orientation apart from heterosexual.

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The census also asked people, for the first time, about their gender identity. In Bedford, 905 (0.6%) people said they did not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth.

The figures show 215 people aged 25 to 34 years said they were transgender – accounting for 23.8% of the trans community in the area.

In England and Wales, people aged 16 to 24 years old were the most likely age group to have said their gender identity was different from their sex registered at birth.

Stonewall said: "Following the initial data showing over 1.5 million lesbian, gay and bi people living in England and Wales, we now see that younger generations feel safer to be themselves.

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"Each generation reports more lesbian, gay and bi people than the last – but that doesn’t necessarily mean there are now simply more of us. It suggests that older generations were not always safe or free to speak about their experiences, or lacked the language to describe them."

The charity added the data is a reminder to leaders, institutions and governments to champion the LGBT+ community.

The proportion of LGB+ young people varied across the nation with Brighton and Hove at the top of the list (14.8% of under-35s) and Slough at the bottom (2.8%).