Residents of Suffolk County were asked to answer a survey about recycling centers' opening hours and layouts, but got angry when they get to a part where they were asked if they are straight, gay, lesbian or transgender, disabled or if they are HIV-positive. They feel that this is entirely irrelevant to a waste-related questionnaire.
A Suffolk County Council spokesman 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. 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 not everyone is the same."
However, a lot of people are still furious about the questionnaire, and some took to social media to express anger. Peter Price posted on Twitter, "WHAT A JOKE - Survey on Waste Recycling, they want to know if Transgender, and Sexual orientation . ??"
Another person asked, "What does it matter how many transgender individuals recycle their rubbish?" Still another local, Alison M, added: "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 council faced backlash when they included similar questions during another survey about the Orwell River Crossing in Ipswich. They SCC released a statement to the media saying: "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."
Unsurprisingly, a lot of Suffolk County people are still unconvinced with some saying that the council's intrusiveness may actually affect their ability to gather correct information.
"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)," a resident wrote.