Using Gender, Sex and Sexuality Data for Action
Bloomsbury Academic, January 2022
Queer Data explores the collection, analysis and use of gender, sex and sexuality data, as it relates to the lives and experiences of LGBTQ 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 will – 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 LGBTQ experiences and designs-out certain lives.
Queer Data brings together two distinct, though related, strands. Firstly, a study of gender, sex and sexuality data particularly (though not exclusively) as it relates to the lives and experiences of individuals who identify as LGBTQ. Secondly, the ‘queering’ of practices and systems used to collect, analyse and present quantitative and qualitative data. A critical account of 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.
Published in January 2022 by Bloomsbury Academic as part of the Bloomsbury Studies in Digital Cultures series.