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Gay By The Numbersby Peter Moore, 365Gay.com London BureauPosted: December 11, 2005 11:00 am ET(London) How many gays are there? It


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Gay By The Numbers

by Peter Moore, 365Gay.com London Bureau

Posted: December 11, 2005 11:00 am ET

(London) How many gays are there? It's a question that has roiled gays, homophobes and statisticians but now the British government says it has the answer.

It isn't ten percent as most gay activists have maintained for decades. It isn't the one percent that most anti-gay groups claim. It's six percent according to number crunchers in the British Treasury. And that's official. At least as far as the government is concerned.

The Treasury wanted to find out what the impact of Britain's new civil partnership law might be. After all the Treasury wanted to know what the impact would be on the economy since the new law gives domestic partners rights in areas such as tax, pensions and inheritance - all impacting on tax revenues.

Using actuarial tables and estimates supplied by the Department of Trade and Industry the civil service set out to "scientifically guestimate" the number gays in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Trade and Industry said its own surveys showed 1.5 million to two million gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in the 30 million-strong workforce. The numbers were then applied to actuarial tables to figure how many gays were not in the workforce - either because they were school, retired, or unemployed.

The result: 3.6 million gay and lesbian Britons out of a total population of just under 60 million people.

While some people are dismissing the numbers as voodoo mathematics, others are hailing the process as a milestone.

"This is a significant moment," Ben Summerskill, chief executive of LGBT group Stonewall, told The Observer newspaper. "For the first time the government has robustly acknowledged the existence of a substantial number of gay people in modern Britain. This is welcome and long overdue."

The figures also are being welcomed by the advertising industry which sees a pink gold to be mined from British gays.

Barclays bank, Hilton hotels, L'Oreal and a host of travel companies already are trying to cash in. Barclays, one of the world's biggest financial institutions, says it figures that British


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