Surveying Trans and Nonbinary Communities: Research Methodologies, Accountability, and Ethics With the Trans Bodies, Trans Selves Survey (2nd Edition)

A. Ikaika Gleisberg, Kelsey Pacha, Sand Chang, Laura Erickson-Schroth, Kevin Johnson, Stephanie Luz Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although representation of trans people has increased markedly in the last decade, there is little descriptive data about the multiplicity of experiences for those who are transgender, nonbinary, and gender expansive. Most data regularly cited in policy papers and academic research relies on two quantitative research studies, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (Grant et al., 2011) and the U.S. Transgender Survey (James et al., 2016). In addition, there are a number of common issues with research in trans communities, including small sample sizes (especially in qualitative research) and lack of trans representation in designing and carrying out studies. The first edition of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (Erickson-Schroth, 2014) included quotes gathered from a survey with over 3,500 respondents. With the second edition of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (Erickson-Schroth, 2022), Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval was sought to use the 2nd edition survey’s data, which yielded 2,014 respondents who were offered 97 open-ended questions, for research purposes as well as in the book. Advantages of this study include breadth of topics, depth of responses, trans-led research questions, and an intersectional analysis of the data. Our survey suffered from many of the same methodological issues as other studies of trans populations, including sampling problems, a lack of verifiable population-level data to use for data comparison, recruitment problems, and survey attrition. We reflect on these dynamics as they relate to previous trans research methods and offer recommendations for doing more representative and accountable data collection when working with trans communities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Community research
  • Intersectionality
  • Nonbinary
  • Transgender

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