MAP Joins Nearly 200 Organizations Calling for LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion

Without large-scale data about LGBTQI people, it is difficult to fully understand the full range of challenges LGBTQI people experience

Movement Advancement Project
3 min readMar 11, 2022
Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

Data drive policy decisions. But because lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTQI) people aren’t always visible in data, we’re not always included in laws, policies or funding that impacts our lives.

Data collected by private research firms suggest that there are over 13 million LGBTQ people in the United States, and the population is growing notably. Scientific estimates suggest as many as 2–5 million Americans were born with intersex traits.

But without large-scale data about LGBTQI people, it is difficult to fully understand the full range of challenges LGBTQI people experience.

This week, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) issued a groundbreaking report focused on advancing data collection on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex, including variations in sex characteristics. The report emphasizes that improved and standardized data collection is vital for understanding the challenges LGBTQI people face.

For more than a year, MAP has brought together leading LGBTQI and allied organizations to collaborate, strategize, and share resources with the goal of advancing LGBTQI data inclusion. We at MAP know that we’re stronger when we work together. That’s why MAP was excited to sign onto an open letter — joining 189 other LGBTQI and allied organizations — calling for renewed efforts to advance sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex data inclusion on surveys, in administrative data, and in clinical settings.

With ten organizations, we’ve released this fact sheet to help people understand the significance of the NASEM report and how it can be useful to advance data inclusion.

Read our fact sheet on the importance of LGBTQI data inclusion.

As Naomi Goldberg, MAP’s deputy director, explains:

This report is a watershed moment for LGBTQI inclusion in data collection. When LGBTQI people are not seen and counted for who we are, the challenges we experience are rendered invisible and public policies often don’t reflect our needs. The report makes clear that federal agencies can and should ask questions about sexual orientation, gender identity, and variations in sex characteristics in order to better serve LGBTQI people.

For far too long, our country’s largest surveys like the Census and the American Community Survey have overlooked LGBTQI people because they haven’t included questions about sexual orientation or gender identity.

The report from NASEM provides detailed recommendations about how to add these questions about LGBTQI people to surveys and the critical importance of doing so. I’m excited to work alongside advocates, policymakers, researchers, and the Biden Administration to fulfill the promise of data equity by having these questions added to our country’s surveys that shape policy, influence where dollars are spent, and provide vital data about people’s experiences.

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Movement Advancement Project

MAP is an independent, nonprofit think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all.