Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Believers in biology: a coordinated effort to disrupt the 2022 census.

Pedersen, Sarah



This article investigates the attempt by some gender-critical Scots, led by organisations such as For Women Scotland, to disrupt the administration of the 2022 census in Scotland. They used their census returns to register a protest around guidance relating to the Sex question and around the wider issue of the Scottish Government's plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act. Protestors used social media to share images of their protest on the census forms over the whole census period, meaning that potential protesters were more likely to choose to protest because they saw a growing number of others sharing what they had done. It is suggested that this protest has contributed, and will continue to contribute, to costs relating to the administration of the census and the processing of census data, including the production and administration of paper census forms; the extension of the deadline for completion of the census; and the ability to use machines to read and process the data. Their action was linked by many protesters to the actions of the suffragettes in relation to the 1911 census, with the expectation that their protests would be visible in 100 years' time. However, data-protection policies mean many of their actions will not be recorded.


PEDERSEN, S. 2023. Believers in biology: a coordinated effort to disrupt the 2022 census. Scottish affairs [online], 32(1), pages 1-18. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2023
Publication Date Feb 28, 2023
Deposit Date Nov 3, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 3, 2022
Journal Scottish affairs
Print ISSN 0966-0356
Electronic ISSN 2053-888X
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 1
Pages 1-18
Keywords Census; Suffragettes; Gender-critical; Protest; Sex; Gender
Public URL


PEDERSEN 2023 Believers in biology (AAM) (243 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© Edinburgh University Press.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations