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Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in BJS Data Collections

Description

Sexual orientation and gender identity are central to an individual’s self-concept and influence how people experience and interact with the world. Collecting this demographic information allows BJS to produce a variety of statistical estimates for persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. These measures are collected on several BJS data collections, although the approach to measurement can vary depending on the collection and the year of administration:

Sexual orientation has three main components: sexual attraction, sexual behavior, and sexual identity. An individual’s sexual identity refers to how an individual self-identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or straight. BJS survey data collections use sexual identity for measuring sexual orientation to meet the objective of estimating the demographic populations of interest. Sexual attraction or behavior refers to an individual’s attraction to, or engagement in sexual activities with, members of the same sex, the opposite sex, or both sexes. Sexual attraction or behavior does not define a demographic population, and same-sex attraction or behavior does not always coincide with gay, lesbian, or bisexual identity. (See National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.)

Gender identity is defined as an individual’s internal sense or perception of their gender, which can be the same as or different from their sex assigned at birth. Cisgender persons are individuals whose gender identity is the same as their sex assigned at birth. Transgender persons are individuals whose gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth. (See National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.)

Survey data collections

 

 

Date Created: September 14, 2022