LGBTQ+ Americans aren't fully counted by the government. That's a big problem
June 11, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 26.7%. 2 min read.
Reading, PA - April 6: A detail photo of a collection of small Pride Flags, and Transgender Pride Flags. At the LGBT Center of Greater Reading on 13th street in Reading Tuesday afternoon April 6, 2021 where U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat representing Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District, was visiting on a tour of local community organizations to learn about constituent needs and talk about the American Rescue Plan. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
Government data help lawmakers, economists and the public understand the nation better. But it gets tricky when those statistics don't represent every group adequately.
Official data are needed "to ensure that LGBT people are included in efforts to reduce unemployment through increased labor force participation, as well as to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions," the researchers wrote earlier this year in support of adding LGBTQ+ questions to the Current Population Survey, which helps create the jobs report.
Examples of how data can change outcomes for the LGBTQ+ community include the establishment of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ youth, school training services and ongoing research after former Governor William Weld sought to respond to an increase in LGBTQ+ youth suicides; the improvement of individuals' medical care following research asking patients about their sexual orientation and gender identity; and the creation of equity programs within the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services following a study that showed LGBTQ+ youth were overrepresented in the youth foster system and experienced harsher treatment.
Although independent research from the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute and established pollsters such Gallup have provided some data about the community, that research just doesn't carry the same weight as government stats in leading to funding of direct services and addressing the needs of people in the queer community, Renna said.
But when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, government institutions haven't done enough research yet to make broader improvements to the data.
That can make it harder to get accurate data on members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially if a person hasn't come out to their family, or if the survey respondent is uncomfortable talking about another household member's sexual orientation or gender identity.
The NGLCC, which leans heavily on community-driven surveys and private sector research, has yet to meet with the Census and BLS on inclusive data-gathering efforts, Nelson said.
The people behind government surveys are doing research to move toward a world in which official data are more inclusive.
And there is a greater dearth of data especially when it comes to LGBTQ+ youth, transgender people and gender identity, she added.