ESRA 2017 Programme

Tuesday 18th July      Wednesday 19th July      Thursday 20th July      Friday 21th July     

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Wednesday 19th July, 16:00 - 17:30 Room: F2 107

Analyzing the lives of LGBTI people - survey approaches to LGBTI persons, couples and families 3

Chair Dr Stephanie Steinmetz (Sociology Department, University of Amsterdam )
Coordinator 1Ms Mirjam Fischer (Sociology Department, University of Amsterdam)
Coordinator 2Ms Nancy Bates (Research and Methodology Directorate, U.S. Census Bureau)

Session Details

In recent years, much progress has been made in the US, Europe and beyond with regard to legislation that is supportive and protective of LGBTs (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans persons). While these achievements are laudable, it is important to keep evaluating to what extent they truly improve the lives of LGBTs. There are still many sources of inequality and discrimination that remain deeply embedded in the social fabric of societies. Compared to research on other minority groups, sexual orientation has been studied quantitatively much less in the social sciences. Yet, quantitative scholars have continuously made efforts to overcome the methodological challenges associated with studying this population by using surveys. This is an important development which should be encouraged and continued.

This session welcomes contributions focusing on the wide range of issues that need to be addressed when studying LGBT populations with survey-based methods. For example, is the 2-step method (sex assigned at birth and sex identify with now) best for reducing undercounting of transgender populations? As younger people embrace non-binary or gender-nonconforming identities, how must our questions and categories for gender identity change? Can sexual orientation be collected by proxy in surveys that use a single household informant to provide all member’s demographic information? How can concepts around sexual orientation and gender identity be translated for non-Western cultures and non-native languages? Are there interviewer effects when collecting SOGI in telephone and personal visit surveys? Does the addition of SOGI items harm unit response rates in surveys that do not typically collect such items (e.g. labor force or consumer expenditure surveys)? What are strategies for designing sampling frames intended at capturing LGBT populations? In addition, this session also invites submissions that focus on topical survey results around LGBT populations such as physical and mental health disparities, income inequality, hate crimes, and household and family structures. The session hopes to draw a cross-section of submissions from different countries and different survey experiences.


Paper Details

1. The social and geographical mobility of gays and lesbians in France An approach based on men and women in couples
Dr Wilfried Rault (Ined)

The social and geographical mobility of gay and lesbian populations has often been observed via qualitative studies or quantitative surveys of samples of volunteers. Despite the notable increase in gay and lesbian studies since the 1980s, and especially since the 1990s and 2000s in parallel with the growing legal and social recognition of homosexuality, it has never been possible to explore this mobility within the framework of large-scale representative surveys of the general population. After explaining why such studies were impossible until now, this article uses data from the Family and Housing (Famille et logements) survey conducted in 2011 by INSEE in collaboration with INED and which, for the first time in France, allows us to address the question by looking at people living with a partner. Unlike earlier convenience surveys which generally interviewed men only, both men and women can be studied.
Compared to people in heterosexual couples, those in same-sex couples – both men and women – are much more strongly characterized by a strong investment in education and upward social mobility. The individual situations observed also reveal strong geographical mobility characterized by a pronounced distancing from family origins and a frequent attraction to large towns and cities, among men more than women. The two forms of mobility combine differently, depending on the individuals' social origins. Social mobility is especially characteristic of men and women from the middle and working classes, and goes hand in hand with geographical mobility. Gay men from the upper classes are no different from other men from the upper classes in terms of educational trajectories, but are more frequently attracted to the Paris region, and even more so Paris itself.


2. Barriers to Health Care Among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults in the United States
Professor Gilbert Gonzales (Vanderbilt University)

Background: Prior research on transgender health in the United States has been limited to convenience samples and a few state surveys ascertaining transgender status, leading to wide knowledge gaps about health and access to care among transgender populations.

Objectives. This study compared barriers to care between cisgender, transgender, and gender non-conforming adults using data from a large, representative, and multi-state survey in the United States.

Methods. We used data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to estimate the prevalence of having no health insurance, unmet medical care due to cost, no routine checkup, and no usual source of care for female cisgender adults (n=87,430), male cisgender adults (n=61,145), female-to-male transgender adults (n=351), male-to-female transgender adults (n=206), and gender non-conforming adults (n=112). Logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios for each barrier to care while adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics.

Results. Transgender and gender non-conforming adults were more likely to be non-white, sexual minority, and socioeconomically disadvantaged compared to cisgender adults. After controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, male-to-female transgender adults were more likely to have no health insurance (odds ratio [OR] = 2.01; p<0.05) and unmet medical care due to cost (OR = 1.54; p<0.05) compared to female cisgender adults; female-to-male transgender adults were more likely to have unmet medical care due to cost (OR = 2.55; p<0.05); and gender non-conforming adults were more likely to have no usual source of care (OR = 2.81; p<0.10) and no routine checkup in the prior year (OR = 2.47; p<0.05).

Conclusions. This is one of the first studies to use data collected from a nationally representative health survey to compare access to care between cisgender, transgender, and gender non-conforming adults. We found transgender and gender non-conforming adults were more likely to face barriers to health care, which may be due to the lack of coverage for transgender-related services in health plans and discrimination in health care, employment, and public policy.


3. Capturing the experiences of gender-variant young people in a cross-sectional attitude survey
Dr Dirk Schubotz (Queen's University Belfast)

This paper explores the under-researched field of attitudes and experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) young people and discusses the challenges of capturing these experiences in cross-sectional survey research.

There have been multiple challenges to recruiting TGNC people to research projects in general. Voices and perspectives of the TGNC community have conventionally been captured as ‘T’ in LGBT studies, but the comparatively small number of TGNC respondents meant that gender identity and sexual identity issues were inappropriately pooled or that the views and experiences of TGNC peoples were completely over-looked. The reasons for this are a combination of attitudinal but also methodological issues.

The heteronormative attitudes in society resulted in fears among TGNC people about how confidentiality and anonymity can be guaranteed in research, and as a consequence the TGNC community has been a largely ‘invisible’ population. Concerns about the viability of capturing TGNC voices has resulted in their exclusion from anonymised population survey research. It is only with very large multinational surveys, such as the FRA study (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights 2014) that TGNC experiences were previously explored quantitatively. However, as attitudes towards and understanding of TGNC people are slowly improving, members of the TGNC community are becoming more willing to self-identify, and as a result gender analysis beyond the traditional male-female binary is becoming a possibility, even though some practical concerns remain.

Here I propose to report the findings of the 2014 Young Life and Times (YLT) survey, an annual randomised attitude survey of 16-year olds undertaken in Northern Ireland. In 2014, for the first time, respondents were given the option to self-identify as other than male or female. The 2014 YLT also contains questions on transphobic name calling and insults. Almost 2,000 16-year olds responded. The survey provides a baseline of the demographics of TGNC youth living in Northern Ireland. The survey also captured the levels of homophobic and transphobic abuse they experience, and in my presentation I will discuss the key findings of this survey.


4. Analyzing the perception of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in EU28 countries: a model based approach
Dr Maurizio Curtarelli (Policy and Research, Ecorys UK)
Mrs Stefania Capecchi (Università Federico II di Napoli)

Though its prominence in designing and evaluating policies to deal with discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, empirical evidence on this form of discrimination is still poor across the EU and does not allow for widespread and comparative analyses yet.
In a cross cross-country perspective, using data collected in Special Eurobarometer 437 “Discrimination in the EU in 2015”, we discuss results stemming from the implementation of a class of statistical models able to measure agreement towards the selected items and uncertainty in the response patterns. The survey, investigating opinions of European citizens in a number of a fields EU28, seem to corroborate the existence of discrimination, specifically on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Aiming at studying ratings of expressed agreement/disagreement on a number of topics related to LGBTI lives, we focus on a set of subjective, environmental and economic covariates which are likely to influence these assessments and allow to identify the main characteristics of individuals which are more likely to express discriminatory opinions on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Literature on the models for evaluation data are more and more advanced and several proposals have been recently introduced for suitable fitting and interpretation of ratings, self-assessed evaluations, etc. Indeed, the statistical analysis of preferences, judgments, perceptions expressed by ordinal variables is usually afforded by Generalized Linear Models (GLM) which relate the expected values of responses by means of a link with selected covariates. Though these modelling structures are well consolidated in the literature, in this paper we use an alternative approach, named as CUB (Combination of Uniform and shifted Binomial distribution).
As a matter of fact, in social surveys, where ordinal options have to be selected, some of the relevant items manifest a wide proportion of uncertainty in the responses, due to a number of reasons: sensitive and discomfit questions, inaccurate or vague wording, inadequate notion of the issue, etc. Since phenomena of interest are difficult to define and measure in a deterministic way, this alternative class of models relies on a discrete probability distribution which takes into account two latent components pertaining to the response, denoted as agreement/feeling and uncertainty. Besides, this choice is motivated on the basis of several focal points briefly examined in the paper and confirmed by fruitfully experienced applications on working conditions, job and life satisfaction, relational goods, political orientation, urban emergencies, among others.
Whereas in the classical GLM framework the respondent's uncertainty is not taken into account, in the selected mixture approach this “indecision” is explicitly considered and even related to possible respondents' covariates, if these relationships turn out to be significant.
In our research, the nature of the considered items itself and their possible categories strongly suggest the presence of both agreement and uncertainty in the responses. CUB models allow to visualize both components by means of simple graphical displays obtained by efficient estimation methods.