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ESRA 2023 Glance Program

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The LGBTQI* challenge: How to include sexual and gender minorities in general population, longitudinal and cross-national surveys? 2

Session Organisers Mrs Lisa de Vries (Bielefeld University)
Dr Mirjam Fischer (University of Cologne)
Professor Stephanie Steinmetz (Universities of Lausanne and Amsterdam)
TimeTuesday 18 July, 14:00 - 15:30
Room U6-23

The ongoing public debate and rising legal acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, and inter* people increased the visibility of LGBTQI* people in the last decades. In addition, scientific studies from various disciplines increasingly examine the living and working conditions of LGBTQI* people across countries.

Nevertheless, LGBTQI* people are still rarely represented in general population surveys and recent data lacks longitudinal and cross-national perspectives. In many countries, even the amount of LGBTQI* people in the whole population cannot be estimated. Recent developments tried to fill these data gaps by i) integrating questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in general population surveys, ii) identifying same-sex couples in register and census data, or iii) integrating new sampling strategies to reach LGBTQI* people. However, these new approaches pose several methodical challenges for researchers and survey institutes.

This session bundles several methodical issues about including LGBTQI* people in general population, longitudinal and cross-national surveys, and invites researchers as well as employees from survey institutes and census bureaus to discuss recent developments and issues.
Relevant topics include (but are not limited to):

• Identify same-sex, bisexual or transgender people in surveys and register data
• Methods of weighting or alignment to integrate LGBTQI* respondents in general population surveys
• Harmonization of changes in gender and sexuality measurements in panel studies over time
• Sampling strategies and new approaches to reach LGBTQI* people for different types of surveys
• Dealing with small group sizes in statistical analyses

Keywords: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, General Population Surveys, Longitudinal Surveys, Cross-National Surveys


If Queers were Counted: An Updated Inquiry into European Socioeconomic Data on LGB(TI)QS

Dr Karin Schönpflug (IHS) - Presenting Author

Analyzing data provided by official national and European statistics institutes, the original "If Queers were Counted" paper describes the inclusion of sexual orientation in the data-generation and reporting processes in thirty European countries and discusses how legal and social acknowledgment make LGB(TI)Qs in/visible in socioeconomic statistics and examines if and how LGB(TI)Qs are being “counted” and, importantly, what it means “if queers are counted.”

This proposal offers an update of the original research of the public availability, provision, and quality of large-scale data on the socioeconomic standing of LGB[TI]Qs) in Europe, finding that data generation processes in large scale population data have changed amazingly little in Europe since the original research of in 2016. Instead, specific large-scale snow-ball surveys such as the FRA's EU LGBTI Survey have sought to replace lacking information on these populations. Also we find what has changed is the discourse concerning large-scale data on LGB(TI)Qs as a potentially powerful foundation for public discourse and policymaking - which used to be highly contested among researchers, activists, and statistical bodies.

In this way, the consideration of data generation on LGBTIQ populations over the last few years allows an engagement with potential avenues for future research.

Order Effects and Question Wording of Gender and Sexuality Blocks on Surveys: Experimental Evidence in the US and UK

Ms Christina Pao (Princeton University) - Presenting Author

Considering increased disclosures of LGBQ+ and non-binary/trans identities, many statistical bodies have added and/or changed questions relating to sex, gender, and sexuality on their surveys and censuses. Nonetheless, question wording, ordering, and framing for gender and sexuality measures have differed—leaving concerns as to whether these differences significantly affect response and disclosure. Using a randomized survey experiment fielded in the US and UK (N=2,518) in 2022, I test whether i) question wording of two-step gender questions and ii) block ordering of gender and sexuality change the disclosure (or lack thereof) of non-cisgender and non-straight identities. I identify causal effects with difference-in-means tests using Bonferroni corrections. There is indication of greater nonresponse on the two-step gender measure modeled off the UK census question than the measure modeled after the US General Social Survey (GSS). Further, asking a sexuality block before a gender identity block increases disclosure of non-cisgender identities. No other significant differences were found in terms of question ordering and nonresponse. There are some significant differences in disclosure and nonresponse based on different respondent pathways for a sociodemographic survey section. These effects, particularly at a population level, could heavily skew estimates of the LGBTIQ+ population and have downstream effects on policy recommendations.

Mainstreaming SOGIESC in representative surveys and administrative data: A Guidance Note for Member States and other relevant actors

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

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.

The LGBTI Inclusion Index: an innovative tool to incentivise human rights and development data

Dr Felicity Daly (School of Advanced Study, University of London ) - Presenting Author
Mr Phil Crehan (Eolas Consulting )
Ms Micah Grzywnowicz (Danish Institute of Human Rights )

Our submission addresses the call for papers for the ESRA conference session on Developments in Survey Methods and Analysis About LGBTI+ Populations by focusing on a conceptual framework that can overcome gaps in available evidence and promote utilisation of increased quality and quantity of data by policy makers.
Our paper explores the potential of the LGBTI Inclusion Index, an initiative led by the United Nations Development Programme to overcome the paucity of data on the socio-economic inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people and other sexual and gender diverse (LGBTI+) populations worldwide. The Index provides a detailed set of indicators which may be useful to researchers seeking to generate new data or to utilise secondary data to measure human rights and development dimensions across economic well-being; education; health; personal security and violence; and political and civic participation.
Our paper briefly reviews the genesis of the Index, which was conceptualised with representatives of LGBTI civil society organisations and other stakeholders, and discusses limits to intended participation expressed by representatives of States.
We then focus on utilisation of conceptual features of the Index in multilateral reporting and research. Two of the co-authors present case studies demonstrating practical issues in the adaptation/utilisation of selected Indicators from the Index in surveys of LGBTI people planned and/or undertaken by researchers in collaboration with civil society organisations in Africa and the Caribbean.
Delivering our paper at the ESRA conference provides an opportunity to discuss the potential for utilisation of the Index and its Indicators at a theoretical and practical level by a variety of stakeholders. We would hope to share and be informed by others to apply this concept to generate data that can provide greater insight on interventions needed to improve socio-economic inclusion of LGBTI+ people.