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ESRA 2023 Glance Program

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Developments in survey methods and analysis about LGBTI+ populations 1

Session Organiser Dr Angelo Moretti (Utrecht University)
TimeTuesday 18 July, 16:00 - 17:00
Room U6-01a

Empirical evidence is crucial in shaping and implementing policies focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transexual, intersexual and any other individuals whose sexual and/or gender identity differs from the cis-heterosexual (LGBTI+). In recent years, much progress has been made regarding the legislation focusing on the protection and support of LGBTI+ communities. However, obstacles are still present in practice when it comes to data collection and analysis to provide reliable outputs to be used by policy makers. Particularly, there remains gaps in data collection initiatives aiming to investigate a wide range of issues affecting LGBTI+ populations. This lack of data affects policies, and this has an important impact on the lives and well-being of LGBTI+ people. These populations can be seen as ‘hard-to-reach populations’, meaning that they are difficult for survey researchers to access; hence, relevant sampling designs should be considered and formulated carefully. Furthermore, there are important methodological issues arising from when collected data are analysed. Specifically, confidentiality and privacy issues are crucial here. This can lead onto measurement error issues in the reporting stage, e.g., discriminations in various contexts, and victimisations. Thus, these problems must be taken into account when developing and applying statistical models. In addition, due to the nature of this phenomena object of study, distributions might suffer from a large number of zeros so that the data do not readily fit standard distributions, e.g., variables measuring victimisation of LGBTI+ people. We welcome substantive and methodological papers that address issues related to survey methods and analysis of LGBTI+ populations. Methodological papers can be related to sampling designs, data integration developments considering new forms of data too, statistical modelling approaches that seek to produce robust analysis.

Keywords: lgbti+, lgbt, elusive populations, hard-to-reach, measurement


Facilitating LGBTIQ equality data collection in the EU: A Guidance Note for Member States and other relevant actors

Dr Rossalina Latcheva (EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)) - Presenting Author
Ms Sara Borasio (Independent researcher)

At present, most EU Member States do not collect data on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). Amongst those that do, the scope and quality of the collected data varies greatly. To address this gap, the EU Subgroup on Equality Data developed a Guidance Note on the collection and use of data for LGBTIQ equality, with the support of independent experts, LGBTIQ civil society organisations and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The Guidance Note targets a wide range of actors, including political and administrative bodies, human rights institutions and academia. It serves as a starting point to facilitate and harmonise data collection efforts on SOGIESC.
This presentation will offer an overview of the Guidance Note, particularly focusing on its Guidance on mainstreaming information on SOGIESC in general population surveys and censuses. Malta is currently the only EU Member State to specifically collect SOGIESC information in their census, and the majority of Member States also fail to include SOGIESC questions in large-scale, general population surveys. The Note provides practical guidance to Member States on incorporating SOGIESC questions in representative surveys. It also considers the advantages and limitations of using administrative data and proxy variables to identify LGBTIQ populations. This data is more readily available and can be a useful tool. However, it can lead to undercounts, such as where records of same-sex marriages or registered partnerships are used as a measure of the prevalence of same-sex couples, or where changes in legal gender registration are used as a proxy for the prevalence of trans people. Hence, the Note recommends that data collection should allow respondents to self-identify whenever possible, and the limitations of administrative data and proxies must be clearly acknowledged in the analysis.

Designing a Strategy to Recruit a Representative Sample of the Older LGBT Population in the United States

Mr Ned English (NORC) - Presenting Author
Ms Kate Lefauve (NORC)
Mr Phil Schumm (The University of Chicago)
Dr Colm O'Muircheartaigh (The University of Chicago)

The primary purpose of the SAMLAP* study is to recruit and interview a probability sample of the older US LGBT population. We present results from the recruitment phase, which administered an eligibility screener to an address-based (ABS) probability sample via web-push or paper-based self-administered questionnaire modes. We conducted a series of experiments to test the effectiveness of different recruitment strategies, including: 1) varying incentive amounts and timings, 2) including an SAQ with the first web-push mailing, and 3) implementing a last-ditch contact via FedEx. In addition, we conducted a series of randomized experiments to determine whether and how the wording of the survey invitation would affect the composition of the responding sample. We estimate the effects of these manipulations on response rate both overall and separately by key features of the sample, including stratifiers such as region, population density, urbanization, and political attitudes. Further, we compare the composition of the responding samples following different manipulations in terms of their socio-demographic characteristics and their correspondence to the population characteristics of the sampled areas. Our results will be of interest to researchers and practitioners studying sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), LGBT and older adults, as well as survey methodologists focused on questionnaire design and recruitment strategies for rare populations.

*Sampling Strategies and Measurement Approaches for the LGBT Aging Project: a feasibility study for a potential national panel of older LGBT US population; research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01AG070059

Boy or girl? Development of additional options in survey research with children and correlates of non-binary gender identification

Dr Katrina Lloyd (Queen's University Belfast) - Presenting Author
Professor Dirk Schubotz (Queen's University Belfast)
Dr Martina McKnight (Queen's University Belfast)

The inclusion of categories for non-binary identification is becoming more common in survey research with adults, driven largely by changes in public attitudes and government policies. It has been argued that this is an important step to better align survey measurement with contemporary gender theory. Furthermore, it makes visible the gender diverse individuals who do not identify with male/female dichotomies. However, there is no clear consensus on what additional categories could, and should, be included to best reflect the diversity of non-binary adults. More complex still is the potential terminology that could be used in surveys of primary (elementary) school children that reflect those who do not identify with the options of ‘boy’ or ‘girl’. This paper reports on two studies conducted with children aged between 9 and 11 years in Northern Ireland. The first study worked with a children’s research advisory group (CRAG) to discuss potential categories for inclusion in surveys with children. The CRAG opted for girl/boy/neither/I don’t want to say. The second study included these four categories in a large, online survey of over 4,500 children conducted in 2022 – Kids’ Life and Times – and data on school experiences, bullying and wellbeing were analysed by these categories. The results indicated that children who do not identify with the ‘traditional’ boy/girl categories are less happy at school, are more likely to have experienced bullying and to have poorer wellbeing and self-esteem than their peers. The findings suggest that it is feasible, and important, to offer children categories that better reflect gender diversity and to explore further the correlates of non-binary identification.