Health professionals in England are to be told to ask patients aged 16 or over about their sexual orientation, under new NHS guidelines.
NHS England said no-one would be forced to answer the question, but it seems that they will continue nag people at each visit until they answer the question. The guidance applies to doctors and nurses, as well as local councils responsible for
adult social care.
An NHS spokeswoman said the information would help NHS bodies comply with equality legislation by consistently collecting personal details of patients such as race, sex and sexual orientation. NHS England recommends health professionals - such as
GPs and nurses - ask about a person's sexual orientation at every face to face contact with the patient, where no record of this data already exists.
It is expected that sexual orientation monitoring will be in place across England by April 2019. Under the guidance, health professionals are to ask patients: Which of the following options best describes how you think of yourself?. The options
heterosexual or straight
gay or lesbian
other sexual orientation
Of course the NHS don't mention some of the dangers of reporting sexuality to NHS staff or by having sexuality recorded in a widely used database. There is still a certain community pressure in religious circles that being outed as gay is a very
dangerous proposition indeed. And if muslim terrorists get hold of lists of gay people it could be a matter of life and death. Perhaps in the future some right wing fascist party could get into power. They could print off yellow stars for people
directly from the database.
More than 200 people took to the streets of Brighton to highlight oppressive double standards which dictate that men may show their chests in public whilst women may not.
But when one participant took the photos to be developed at Boots in Tunbridge Wells, she says she was left feeling embarrassed after staff told her that she could not have nude photos developed in store. The protester was told that 12 of her
photos from the event couldn't be printed - despite them being taken at a public march which was attended by parents and children.
A spokesperson for Boots noted that there is no company-wide policy on nudity, and that the shop assistant would not have been breaking any company rules to personally take the decision to ban nudity.
Despite the missing prints, the retailer charged her full price for developing the images and the woman in question has since issued a formal complaint to Boots.
The UK has seen a rising tide of lifestyle regulations in recent years. Its smoking ban, introduced in 2007, allows fewer exemptions than that of almost any other country and was extended to cars carrying passengers under the age of 18 in
2015 (2016 in Scotland). In 2008, Britain became the first EU country to mandate graphic warnings on cigarettes and cigarette vending machines were banned in 2011. A full retail display ban followed in 2015. In May 2016, the UK and France became
the first European countries to ban branding on tobacco products ('plain packaging') in May 2016.
The UK has some particularly punitive sin taxes. It has the highest taxes on cigarettes and wine in the EU and the second highest taxes on beer. There are relatively few legal limits on where alcohol can be advertised but there are strict
guidelines on content. Off trade alcohol discount deals such as buy-one-get-one-free are banned in Scotland.
Anti-smoking policies are now being rolled out to food and soft drinks. A ban on 'junk food' advertising to children was extended to digital media in December 2016 and a UK-wide tax on sugary drinks is expected to be implemented in 2018. There is
a ban on sugary drinks in Scottish hospitals and both the Scottish and Welsh governments support minimum pricing for alcohol. Britain's Nanny State Index score for food and soft drinks arguably makes the country seem more liberal than it is
because it does not include the food reformulation scheme which has led to chocolate bars shrinking and food products becoming less tasty as Public Health England pushes food manufacturers towards reducing sugar, salt and fat content. Although
this scheme is technically voluntary, it is backed up with the threat of legislation.