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Large scale surveys lag behind on questions about sexual orientation

November 5, 2019 — 

While our understandings of sexual orientation, sex, and gender continue to progress, the questions asked by researchers on surveys lag behind. A Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management-led research team wants to change that.

The study aims to propose revised questions for sexual orientation that could be used by organizations such as Statistics Canada in data collection efforts.

“This work is important,” says Dr. Fenton Litwiller, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba and primary investigator of this study.

“To address the inequities faced by 2SLGBTQ people we need accurate data that can be used to influence policy change and direct health and wellness resources.”

Statistics Canada recently released revised standards for questions on gender and sex that allow for more than two genders. These questions are currently undergoing testing and are intended to be used in the 2021 Census as well as other surveys. According to the research team, however, the questions used by Statistics Canada on sexual orientation have not been revised to align with the new options for gender.

The study is seeking 2SLGBTQ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) to take part in focus groups and interviews. Heterosexual and cisgender people are welcome to take part as well. The data yielded from this research will help inform the study’s recommendations.

Here’s where you come in.

You can sign up to participate in one of two focus group sessions that will be conducted in Winnipeg. There’s a group for people aged 15-to-20 years of age Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 6-8 p.m. There’s also a focus group seeking participants 21-and-over on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 6-8 p.m. Both sessions will be at the Saint Boniface library

Food and beverages will be provided at the focus groups, as well as bus tickets and reimbursements for childcare costs so parents/guardians can attend the sessions. If requesting childcare, please contact one week in advance of the focus group.

For more information and to sign-up for the focus group, please contact genderproject [at] umanitoba [dot] ca or call or text 431-688-1289.

This project was approved by the Education/Nursing Research Ethics Board (ENREB). If you have questions or concerns, contact the Human Ethics Coordinator at the U of M at (204) 474-7122 or humanethics [at] umanitoba [dot] ca

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