Online Program

Data Collection on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity within National Health Surveys for Two English-Speaking Nations: A Comparison Between the United States and the United Kingdom

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 3:22 p.m. - 3:35 p.m.

Margaret M. Wolff, MSW, Doctor of Public Health program, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY
Christina Ventura-DiPersia, MPH, Doctor of Public Health program, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY
Audrey Renson, City University of New York, Hunter College, School of Public Health, New York, NY

Background: To address internationally documented LGBT health disparities and discrimination, the United States’ (US) Healthy People 2020 goals and the United Kingdom’s (UK) 2010 Equality Act call for improved data collection regarding LGBT populations. Health officials recommend that efforts include items on gender identity and sexual orientation (i.e. identity labels, behavior, and attraction). US and UK methodology may be compared given that both are English-speaking nations with developed, public health data collection systems.

Methods: A content analysis of the most current national health surveys within the US Healthy People 2020 and UK health data systems aimed to: identify items that specifically measure gender identity and sexual orientation (including sexual identity, behavior, and attraction); examine item placement and data collection methods; and compare country-specific findings.

Results: Five surveys within the Healthy People 2020 data systems directly assess sexual identity; of those, three include items on behavior, one on attraction, and one on gender identity. Questions are located near the end of each survey. Two collect data by face-to-face interviewing, one by phone, and two through self-administration. By comparison, only one national composite health survey in the UK assesses sexual identity (through face-to-face and telephone interviews), but not gender identity, sexual behavior, or attraction.

Conclusions: Health data collection on LGBT populations varies within the US and between the US and UK. In response to calls for representative data to address LGBT-specific disparities, national health data collection efforts should be consistent and comprehensive, including assessments of all aspects of sexuality and gender identity.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how national health surveys ask LGBT-specific questions in the US and the UK Compare and contrast the question content, number of questions, and question placement of LGBT-specific health questions from national health surveys in the US and UK

Keyword(s): Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have evaluated various survey content for LGBT-related questions, performed background research on how public health surveys are addressing national initiatives to improve LGBT-related health disparities, and I orchestrated much of the collaboration on this research project between other authors.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.