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Sexual orientation

Advance HE has updated its recommended question on sexual orientation.

Specifically, ECU recommends including two new categories, ‘asexual’ and ‘queer’. The inclusion of these categories would aid in recognising the group “asexual” which may feel marginalised by response options which do not include them or those who identify as “queer” as opposed to terms which may appear binary-focused.

For the purposes of HESA collections in 2017/18, these categories could be returned to HESA as ‘other’.

Drawing on definitions from Stonewall and Maaple, asexual broadly describes someone who does not experience sexual attraction to people of any gender. For more information, see the Maaple website.

As Stonewall says about queer, this term has now been reclaimed by many LGB+ individuals, particularly young people, who don’t identify with traditional categories around sexual orientation, though it is still viewed to be derogatory by some.

Familiarity and acceptability of the term ‘queer’ has been increased within higher and further education through established disciplinary fields such as Queer Theory, Queer studies and Queer history.

What is your sexual orientation?

  • Asexual
  • Bi/bisexual
  • Gay man
  • Gay woman/lesbian
  • Heterosexual/straight
  • Queer
  • Other
  • Prefer not to say