Data that identify and describe the experiences of gender minorities can help foster evidence-based policymaking and bring increased visibility to gender minority populations. Currently, such data collection is limited, particularly data collection conducted by governmental and inter-governmental institutions.
On November 2, 2018, the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, and a steering committee of international advisors, convened a meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to study the development of best practices for the collection of data on gender minorities in South America. Participants included academics, government officials, community members, researchers, advocates, and funders. These individuals were based in 12 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and represented international institutions such as The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Transgender Europe (TGEU), and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA). The meeting took place on the first day of the 25th scientific symposium of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), which co-sponsored the meeting.
This meeting was the second iteration of an international effort begun in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2016 to consider the desirability and feasibility of producing international best practices for gender minority data collection. The 2016 meeting, which similarly convened experts in gender minority data collection, established in a final meeting report a set of next steps. Principally, these included making regionally-focused determinations regarding best practices and expanding networks of researchers and other experts to support this effort. Drawing on experiences and feedback from participants at the meeting in Amsterdam, the recent meeting in Buenos Aires focused specifically on a region of the Global South: South America. The primary objectives of the meeting were to:
- Further develop an international network of academics and other experts who study the collection of data about gender minorities;
- Update participants on the network’s knowledge of current data collection research and official data collection efforts around the world;
- Draft a model for the development of best practices for data collection about gender minorities in South American countries.
The meeting took place over a full day and included four different sessions. The first two sessions included presentations from experts on gender minority data collection; the latter sessions included discussions, both within small groups and among the full contingent of participants.
The four sessions focused on:
- Reviewing research and data collection on gender minorities globally and in South America;
- Presenting research and considerations on gender identity measurement from experts in South America and discussion from a panel of advocates, community members, researchers, and other experts;
- Discussions in small groups about considerations for the development of best practices on gender minority data collection in South America;
- Discussions of conclusions and next steps.
This report is intended to describe the proceedings of the recent meeting in Buenos Aires and present conclusions and potential next steps based on participants’ discussions and feedback. We note that this report does not attempt to establish best practices for the region but, rather, to catalyze the process by which such best practices may be determined. It is not intended to represent the viewpoints of gender minority communities, governments, researchers, or other stakeholders broadly, but instead to summarize the discussions that took place at this meeting. The Williams Institute developed this report with feedback and review from members of the steering committee and other meeting participants, including in response to separate English and Spanish-language drafts.