Revealed: The number of over 75s who identify as LGB+

The data has been shown in the census for the first time.

People gather during Pride celebrations in London, Britain July 2, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
The census showed older men were more likely to identify as LGB+ than older women. (Reuters)

Almost 19,000 people aged over 75 identify as LGB+ in England and Wales, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics 2021 census.

The 2021 census, which was the first to record the sexual identity of respondents, defines LGB+ as people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or another other minority sexual orientations such as asexual.

In total, 18,930 people over 75s selected LGB+ as their sexual orientation, along with a further 49,480 people aged 65 to 74.

Homosexuality remained illegal in England and Wales until 1967, meaning people aged 56 or over were born at a time when their sexual identity could have been against the law.

Read more: One in 14 young people in England and Wales identify as LGB+, census shows

The data released by the ONS on Wednesday showed that 0.37% of over 75s identify as LGB+, compared to 6.91% of 16-24s.

The percentage of those aged 16 to 24 years identifying as LGB+ was more than twice the figure for the total population (3.2%).

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The majority of LGB+ people were aged between 16 and 34 years (57.88%).

In the population as a whole, females were more likely than males to have identified as LGB+ - 3.3% compared with 3% for males.

While in most age groups, a greater percentage of people identify as gay or lesbian than bisexual, the opposite is true for 16 to 24-year-olds, with 4% identifying as bisexual compared with 2.1% as gay or lesbian.

Read more: White Irish and Anglo Indian among oldest ethnic groups, census shows

The census suggests there is a slightly higher proportion of LGB+ males in England (3.0%) than Wales (2.7%), while for females the figure is similar (3.3%).

The proportion of people in England and Wales saying their gender identity is different from their sex registered at birth decreases as age groups get older, mirroring the trend for sexual orientation.

The census also showed older men were more likely to identify as LGB+ than older women, with both the 65-74s and over 75s groups having more males who identified with this orientation.

Only 0.19% of females over the age of 75 identified as LGB+.

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In England and Wales as a whole, 0.37% of people aged 75 years and over identified as LGB+.

Most London local authorities had a relatively high proportion of people aged 75 years and over who identified as LGB+.

Those with the highest proportions were:

  • Westminster and City of London (2.36%)

  • Hammersmith and Fulham (2.24%)

  • Kensington and Chelsea (2.21%)

  • Camden (2.06%)

  • Islington (1.77%)

Outside of London, the local authorities with the highest proportion of people aged 75 years and over who identified as LGB+ were Brighton and Hove (2.28%), Cambridge (1.45%), and Rushmoor (1.02%).

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London had the highest proportion of over 65s who identify as LGB+, with 1.29%.