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  • Friday, June 17, 2016
  • 0706-000206 Poster 108 - MEASURING TRANS IN THE US: AN UPDATE ON THE STATUS AND CURRENT DILEMMAS OF MEASURING GENDER IN RESEARCH

    June 20, 2016 8:00 AM - June 20, 2016 6:00 PM

    • JENNIFER GLICK, MPH, PHD (C)

    Purpose

    Currently in public health research, surveillance, and practice, there is great variation in the ways in which gender identity categories are included, operationalized, measured, and interpreted. Current public health practice is inconsistent at best.  Even when major international surveillance efforts are implemented little time is spent standardizing population definitions or adapting these global nomenclatures to local circumstances. At present there is little consensus on which taxonomic criteria are most advantageous for generating sound research on gender minority health topics, advancing the human rights of gender minorities and delivering more acceptable and effective services. This study presents a brief history of gender measurement and provides an update on current dilemmas in the field.

    Materials and Methods

    One-on-one semi-structured expert interviews were conducted with experts in the field of gender and sexuality research. The sampling process was guided by a modified hybrid convenience/snow ball design; interviewees were selected from knowledge of the field and each informant was probed for suggestions of other relevant interviewees.  Interviews were open-ended, initially led by a field guide developed from the topics identified via critical literature review.  Specific reactions to categories and terms, instruments, and dilemmas served to guide the interviews.  Questions and probes asked were modified in a modus operandi approach to reach consensus and closure on disputed points. 

    Further, approximately 20 transgender and gender non-conforming members of the New Orleans community were interviewed regarding their experiences completing surveys and interacting with the public health system.  These interviews provided the consumer perspectives on the strategies employed in public health data collection.  

    Results

    Some common dilemmas in the current status quo of gender measurement are epidemiological/methodological in nature, such as 1)sample size and associated statistical analysis limitations, 2)desire for consistent items over time, and 3)limited resources to cognitively test new survey items with diverse populations.  Other dilemmas are content specific such as 1) prioritization of topic and competing data collection needs, 2) concerns about asking and disclosing information about transgender status, 3) confusion and conflation of sex and gender, 4) embracing non-binary concepts of gender such and gender queer and gender non conforming, and 4) struggles for research to allow for self-definition.  

    Conclusion

    While there are no easy solutions to these important measurement concerns, researchers need to continue to work towards consensus around best practices for gender measurement, considering the above-mentioned dilemmas.  We must not let disciplinary silos, unreasonable desire for consistency, or aims of perfection stand in the way of high quality data-collection to better understand the issues and disparities most impacting transgender communities.  




    Category: Social Science