251 scientists, engineers, legal and public policy scholars and 17 scientific organizations cosigned a letter petitioning the National Science Foundation (NSF) to include LGBT+ demographic questions on the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), the Survey of Doctoral Recipients and the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG). The surveys already collect ethnic and gender diversity information, and provide a useful measure of diversity efforts in higher education, but currently include no sexual orientation or gender identity questions.
The agency has announced plans to test the feasibility of adding such questions. Because the NSF is a federal agency, LGBT+ data collection could eventually have implications for diversity initiative funding and policy decisions in higher education. Though it will likely be more than a year before the questions are formally added, advocates are excited to see progress.
“I think it would trigger a snowballing event of getting more people to study this issue and getting universities and federal funding agencies” to think about LGBT+ diversity initiatives, said Jonathan Freeman, associate professor of psychology at New York University and lead author of the letter.
Read more at Science Magazine.