September/October 2015 Issue • Volume 43 • Issue 6

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Sex and Gender Categories for ASA Membership

Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Persons in Sociology

Beginning with the 2016 ASA membership year—which will open for renewals and new memberships in October—members will have an expanded range of sex and gender options to choose from in the ASA member database. The revised sex and gender reporting categories will allow members to choose one or two of the following:

Providing a gender identity, as with all demographic and education information in the member database, is optional, and the data will be held in strict confidence. Providing these data, however, helps the ASA maintain an accurate picture of the composition of our membership.

This schema was proposed by the Committee in 2014 with input from ASA members as well as the members of the LGBTQ Caucus, and was approved by the ASA Council in August 2014. The categories are based on research by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy at UCLA School of Law. You can see more information about the Williams recommendations at williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/GenIUSS-Gender-related-Question-Overview.pdf.

This revised system is not perfect; no system can perfectly capture the diversity and complexity of people’s lived experiences of sex and gender, but the committee believes this is an improvement from the previous categorization used by the ASA. We hope that this new, more inclusive system will provide a more accurate portrait of gender identification among ASA members.

To ensure the correct category is selected, please revisit your category selection when renewing your membership for the 2016 year.

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