New Democracy Maps

Data Equity

Although data collection efforts play a central role in government decision-making and resource allocation, LGBTQ people largely remain invisible to local, state, and federal officials who make decisions that directly affect their safety and wellbeing. This lack of LGBTQ inclusive data significantly hinders the ability of advocates and policymakers to press for LGBTQ policy and funding priorities, which creates a cycle that harms LGBTQ people in all areas of life. When data collection efforts fail to include sexual orientation and gender identity questions in surveys that collect demographic data, it is difficult to fully understand the challenges LGBTQ people experience.

Related Resources


Administrative Data: Providing Information to Advance Autonomy and Drive Equity

February 2023 - The MAP brief in this series highlights some of the important opportunities for administrative data in the health care context for individuals, for health care systems, and for broader society, while also demonstrating that it is critical that administrative data collection systems are examined to ensure they are as inclusive as possible.

Blog Post

Queering the Census to Make Sure All LGBTQI People Are Counted

November 2022 - Census data are frequently used for making government and philanthropic funding decisions, for enforcing civil rights laws, and for identifying evidence-based policies that can advance equity. That’s why it is so important we are counted as LGBTQI individuals on the 2030 Census.

Blog Post

Why Being Visible in Data is So Critical for Transgender People in the U.S.

November 2022 - More and better data about LGBTQI people helps detail the multitude of experiences related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex. Inclusive data collection also combats stereotypes and misinformation about LGBTQI people.


Data Inclusion Is Vital for LGBTQI Equality

June 2022 - In a blog post on the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, MAP calls for improved data inclusion for LGBTQI people.


MAP Joins Nearly 200 Organizations Calling for LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion

March 2022 - MAP signed onto an open letter—joining 189 other LGBTQI and allied organizations—calling for renewed efforts to advance sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex data inclusion on surveys, in administrative data, and in clinical settings.

Issue Brief

The New National Academies Report & the Importance of LGBTQI Data Inclusion

March 2022 - The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) issued a report with formal recommendations for collecting data on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and variations in sex characteristics. This brief explains why data inclusion is so important for LGBTQI people, what the NASEM report recommends, and what LGBTQI community members and allies can do to advocate for data inclusion.

Blog Post

A U.S. Census First: SOGI Questions Included in Household Pulse Survey

August 2021 - This blog post highlights the findings of Census data that, for the first time, allowed participants to identify as LGBT.

Blog Post

LGBTQ Data Collection

June 2020 - This blog post describes why having demographic data during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical to identify trends in who is impacted and why.


How Census Data Advance LGBT Equality

March 2020 - This brief highlights the importance of LGBT people participating in the Census.

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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