Should we monitor sexual orientation and  gender identity?

Organisations have monitored ethnicity, gender and disability for some years now; more recently some have begun to carefully and sensitively monitor sexual orientation.

However, because of the added sensitivity of monitoring gender identity, it is recommended by the EHRC that organisations ‘concentrate on getting their house in order in every other area and then prepare the ground before monitoring gender identity’.

Can we ask questions about sexual orientation, isn’t it private?

Collecting data on sexual orientation needs to be planned and carried out sensitively, with a clear, stated purpose and anticipated benefits.

So think ‘what do you want to find out and for what purpose’?

If we don’t collect information about lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations then needs are invisible and it is difficult to plan responsive, effective and targeted services.

Benefits to organisations

  • Shows a commitment to equality and LGBT+ inclusion
  • Increased knowledge of needs
  • Identifies inequalities
  • Can lead to an improved quality of services which are tailored and cost effective
  • More clients through the door
  • Maximises investment in staff

Benefits to service users

  • Builds trust if done well
  • Service users feel included and accounted for
  • Shows that the service thinks of LGBT+ people
  • Improving services tailored to needs of LGBT+ people

Before you start

Before you start to monitor, ask yourself:

  • Is our equal opportunities policy up-to-date?
  • Do we have an equalities action plan in place?
  • What do we want to find out?
    • Information about staff or clients, or both?
  • How will it improve what we do?
  • How will it benefit our clients, or staff?
  • What systems do we need in place?
    • I.T Systems? New / altered forms?
  • Who will collect the information, and when?

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