Using Gender, Sex and Sexuality Data for Action
Queer Data explores the collection, analysis and use of gender, sex and sexuality data, as it relates to the lives and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people in the UK. It examines how new technologies and approaches, from big data to data abolition, overlap with longer-term disagreements about the recognition of difference among identity groups, representations through data and its use as an evidence base for action.
This is particularly timely as the UK’s 2021 and 2022 censuses – for the first time – capture data about the population’s sexual orientation and trans/gender identity. The addition of these questions marks a landmark moment for LGBTQ representation and the potential to diversify evidence used to address inequality. Yet, participation in the census, and other data collection exercises, is a double-edged sword as they require LGBTQ people to engage in a practice that flattens the diversity of experiences and designs-out certain lives. Queer Data offers more than a study of experiences that sit outside the normative categories of ‘heterosexual’ or ‘cisgender’; it also questions how these categories came into being, what marks their borders, who do they exclude and how are they managed. Queer Data charts a practical path through these inquiries that acknowledges data’s potential to recreate stereotypical and exclusionary rules but also operate as a tool to gather evidence, document inequality and transform the social world for the better.