In June 2022, President Biden issued an executive order designed to promote equity and full inclusion for LGBTQI+ people in education, health care, housing, and other federally funded programs. The executive order called for the expansion of federal data collection on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics (SOGISC). OSTP is developing a Federal Evidence Agenda on LGBTQI+ Equity, which will improve the U.S. government’s ability to make data-informed policy decisions that advance equity for the LGBTQI+ community.
Many federally administered and funded surveys gather information about respondents’ race, ethnicity, sex, marital status, and other personal demographic characteristics. These instruments, however, do not routinely include direct measures of SOGI and, consequently, provide little data with which to examine the demographic, economic, health, geographic, and other characteristics of the LGBTQI+ population. Establishing a routine and consistent collection of SOGI data on federal surveys would help ensure that LGBTQI+ people are accurately counted and studied and would allow government and private entities to understand and meet their unique needs.
Williams Institute scholars submitted comments providing recommendations for OSTP to consider as it develops the Federal Evidence Agenda on LGBTQI+ Equity. The comments recommend the collection of SOGI data on all federal surveys where demographic data are collected and encourage federal agencies to set goals for the inclusion of measures of intersex experience. The comments also highlight examples of disparities faced by LGBTQI+ individuals that could be better understood through additional data collection and provide technical guidance on methodological questions related to SOGI data collection and ensuring the privacy of LGBTQI+ respondents.