Skip to main content

Contextually Relevant and Culturally Responsive SOGI Data Collection

By Eric Stone


Project Objectives

  • Review the importance of collecting data on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), and the importance of LGBTQ+ cultural competence and inclusion
  • Outline the scope of the proposed project – including a discussion of approach, method, and capacity
  • Discuss privacy concerns and best practices for collecting SOGI data, and acquire actionable strategies for meaningful community engagement


Objective #1: The Importance of Inclusion

  • Disparities in Health and Wellbeing: Family Acceptance, Mental Health, Homelessness, HIV, Healthcare Access, Substance Use, Bullying/Victimization


SOGI graph one


Missing data, missing stories
  • We can’t understand the role of factors that we don’t ask about
  • LGBTQ identities correlate with many disparities and outcomes, some that we know well, and some that are more surprising
  • By excluding certain populations, or not asking about them in culturally responsive ways, we communicate that those identities aren’t important, and we fail to meet – or even understand – their needs


Objective #2: Outlining the Proposed Project

Common Identity Terms


identity terms

Sexual Orientation
sexual orientations


Domestic Data with International Intent
  • Conducting focus groups with LGBTQ+ South Asian (Indian) Immigrants
  • Recruiting participants from three South Asian LGBTQ+ organizations located across America
  • Piloting developed SOGI measures and data collection methods with people accessing services/participating in community at the three LGBTQ+ organizations
South Asian LGBTQ+ Organizations
  • The South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association located in New York City, New York
  • Satarang located in Los Angeles, California
  • Khush DC located in Washington, DC
Crowdsourcing = Maximizing Potential
  • Online communities and listservs connected to and separate from the three South Asian LGBTQ+ organizations provide ample opportunity for feedback and piloting
  • Through piloting SOGI measures both in-person and digitally, a number of methods can be assessed to determine maximum efficiency
  • Online platforms help to reduce overall costs relative to in-person travel
Project Capacity
  • Mentorship from scholars skilled in collecting SOGI data internationally (e.g., Dr. Robin Lin Miller; Dr. Hanife Cakici)
  • Partnerships with organizations and groups invested in LGBTQ+ issues broadly (e.g., Northwestern; AEA LGBTQ TIG)
  • A strong community of scholars here at UMD!
Objective #3: Best Practices and Privacy Concerns
  • Avoiding bad surveys
  • Context is key
Sensitivity and Privacy Concerns
  • Research shows that sexual and gender minorities are often more comfortable sharing information that commonly-perceived
  • Anonymity and confidentiality are the key
  • Placement/order of sensitive questions is influential and can promote positive response
  • A number of data collection methods have proven successful in cases of extreme social stigma (e.g., self-administered surveys)
Funding Advocacy
funding advocacy