Join Our Network

Follow Us:

  • RSS

Webinar Highlights California Health Interview Survey’s Role in Improving LGBT Data Collection

Webinar Highlights California Health Interview Survey’s Role in Improving LGBT Data Collection

Earlier today, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research hosted a webinar to look at the current state of available data on sexual orientation and gender identity and how the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) has played a key role in improving collection of this data.

The event, The Importance of CHIS in LGBT Research and Data Collection, featured a presentation by Gary Gates, the Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and research director at the UCLA Williams Institute. Dr. Gates focused on how CHIS, a comprehensive population-based health survey, has been collecting sexual orientation over the past decade. Over that time span, Dr. Gates said, public perception has been shifting and many states have passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage and other benefits. The demographic data available through CHIS shows the impact of this shift in public perception, and Dr. Gates expressed excitement about continued improvement in the future, particularly in regards to gender identity data.

Dr. Gates highlighted some specific trends over the past decade by looking at a variety of demographic data, including age, income, and race/ethnicity. He found that younger people and people of color are identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual at a higher rate than they were 10 years ago and that this is likely the result of changing societal perceptions.

He noted that as social acceptance grows, more people, particularly low-income individuals, will identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. As these data sets become more robust and reliable, more detailed strategies can be developed to target inequities. For example, LGBT individuals experience psychological distress at rates much higher than their counterparts.

For more information on mental health in this community, please refer to the California Reducing Disparities Project LGBTQ Strategic Planning Workgroup’s landmark report, First, Do No Harm: Reducing Disparities for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Populations in California.

Dr. Gates also examined data on access to care. Over the past 10 years the uninsurance rates for same-sex couples has dropped considerably. Dr. Gates attributed this in large part to the increase in same-sex couples’ ability to receive joint benefits.

All in all, Dr. Gates was excited about the progress made over the last decade in collecting data on sexual orientation, thanks in large part to CHIS.

Commenting Policy: CPEHN encourages our readers to post comments in response to blog posts. We place a high value on diversity and discussion. We would like our comments section to remain a place where anyone can post their thoughts knowing they will be treated in a respectful manner. We actively moderate comments and we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that create a hostile environment for other posters.