Council demands to know if you are straight, gay, lesbian or transgender – before it does your recycling
Suffolk County Council is asking householders about age, race, religion and what sexual orientation they are – along with disabilities, including whether they are HIV+
Public-spirited residents who recycle tin cans, empty bottles and old newspapers to help the planet have reacted with outrage.
In a survey about opening hours and the way the recycling centres are laid out, Suffolk County Council (SCC) has also asked householders to detail their age, race, religion and what sexual orientation they are.
There are also being asked questions about disabilities – including whether they have HIV.
Although the survey said declaring yourself to be straight, gay or transgender is an ‘optional’ question, many people have taken to social media to complain about it being asked at all.
Ian C asked the council: “What does it matter how many transgender individuals recycle their rubbish?”
Alison M posted: “I can understand why Suffolk County Council need to know whether disabled people use their sites, but as for sexual orientation, it is no one’s business.”
The recycling survey is not the first time Suffolk County Council has poked its nose into people’s personal habits and background.
Similar questions were included in a survey about the Orwell River Crossing in Ipswich and about the plans for a new bus station in Sudbury.
A council spokesman denies it is prying, and said the answers were needed “to find out about the diversity of those who contributed”.
He said it was “entirely optional whether people filled in that part of the survey and their answers to the rest of the questions would be considered anyway”.
He added: “It is important to know what people with disabilities or illnesses think about our services and it is important that we try to encourage diversity.
“We need to know that not everyone is the same.”
The council told social media critics: “SCC understands that you may feel these questions are intrusive and highly personal. The information you submit is voluntary but it does make a difference.”
People still don’t seem convinced – among other social media comments today, ‘Suffolk Exlie’ posted: “The only question out of that list that is of any relevance is disability – can someone whose disability restricts their mobility use the facilities at the site?”
Time Traveller added: “I object to being asked my ethnicity and sexual preferences on a survey where this shouldn’t be an issue, so every time I see one I fill it in with incorrect details (which makes it even more meaningless).”