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Disaggregate: LGBT status


Individuals who identify as a member of the LGBT community

Why it matters

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals come from diverse backgrounds but can face similar challenges related to overt and/or covert discrimination. For example, same-sex and transgender couples face discrimination in housing markets, and approximately 30 percent of LGBT individuals report experiencing workplace discrimination at some point in their careers. An analysis by the Human Rights Campaign finds that LGBTQ+ workers earn approximately 90 cents for every dollar compared to the “typical” worker (based on median weekly earnings of all full-time workers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). In addition, LGBT individuals experience poverty at a higher rate (22 percent) than non-LGBT individuals (16 percent).

What to know about measurement

The Williams Institute recommends measuring LGBT status in the following way: “Do you think of yourself as (please check all that apply): (1) Straight; (2) Gay or lesbian; (3) Bisexual; (4), Transgender, transsexual, or gender non-conforming. IF yes to transgender, then probe: (1) Transgender or transsexual, male to female; (2) Transgender or transsexual, female to male; (3) Gender non-conforming.” Other measures broaden LGBT to include IA for intersex individuals and asexuality or Q for queer. However, because these terms might be interpreted differently, the Williams Institute does not recommend their inclusion, though respondents should be given a write-in option. As a less detailed alternative, the Gallup Institute asks a single question: “Do you personally identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?” We encourage E-W systems to align on LGBT data collection to inform policy and practice that supports LGBT individuals. As with other sensitive information, questions about LGBT status should be voluntary and confidential.

Source frameworks

This disaggregate (or a similar indicator of sexual orientation) appeared in three source frameworks reviewed for this report: the United Way Equity framework, the California Cradle-to-Career Data System, and the Urban Institute Robust and Equitable Measures to Identify Quality Schools (REMIQS) framework.


The framework's recommendations are based on syntheses of existing research. Please see the framework report for a list of works cited.

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