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LGBT TIG Week: Leia K. Cain on Making Resolutions for Inclusivity in Evaluation

Welcome to 2016! My name is Leia K. Cain, and I’m an instructor at the University of South Florida in the Educational Measurement and Research program. I’m here to wish you a bright and wonderful 2016, and wrap up our aea365’s LGBT TIG week!

Making (and keeping!) resolutions is something that I tend to struggle with. While many of us will be working out this week, gym attendance will surely be falling by February. However, I’m here to suggest a resolution that you can definitely feel good about making and keeping – be more inclusive in your evaluation work!

This week, we have given you tips on things to consider when thinking about including LGBTQ populations within your work. Considering sexual and gender diversity is just as important as considering any other types of cultural diversity. After all, you may not know if there are tensions or difficulties for LGBTQ populations within an organization or program unless you ask.

Hot Tips: Consider having more categories for gender identity, such as; cisgender* male, cisgender female, transgender male, transgender female, and gender queer**. Invite participants to “select all that apply,” and also allow participants to write in their own gender identity!

Consider also allowing participants to write in their own sexual orientation.

Don’t use options and terms like “other.” This sort of language is the opposite of inclusive; it instead pushes individuals out. It’s exclusive – which is definitely not in line with our resolution to be more inclusive!

I hope that this week has been informative for you, and that you will consider LGBTQ populations within your future work! Remember that inclusivity not only adds depth to your work… it also makes sure that everyone is a part of your bigger picture.

*Cisgender: An identity which applies to individuals who identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.

**Gender queer: An identity that marks when an individual does not fit into the gender binary – therefore, they do not identify as male or female.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating LGBT TIG Week with our colleagues in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our LGBT TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

3 thoughts on “LGBT TIG Week: Leia K. Cain on Making Resolutions for Inclusivity in Evaluation”

  1. Kelly K Garcia

    Dear Ms.Cain,
    Gender identity is a complex matter that must be treated with delicacy. As you mentioned we want to be inclusive and we also do not want to insult anyone. I was unaware of some of the terms you mentioned, so thank you very much for defining those.

    I wanted to share that I have seen more inclusion in my work setting and in many of our local schools. When asked to make a selection I have noticed that many companies are now including the term other. Our society still has some progress to make for the LBGT.

    When conducting surveys for evaluations, I will make sure to be more inclusive, if I am asking about gender.

    Thank you,

  2. Veronica Borgonovi

    Hi Leia – thanks for the post! I’m curious as to what you’d suggest using in place of “Other” – we’re considering that right now for something I’m working on. We’re considering “Something Else” – what do you think? Any other suggestions?

    1. I’m not Leia, but I happened to see this question, and I’d recommend using something like “Another identity not listed” or “I describe myself another way” or if you can have write-ins “These don’t apply to me, I describe my sexual orientation as ____” (or something like that). Just a few options, we’ve used “something else” too, but it’s not as friendly. I agree with not using the “other” – for sure! Hope that helps a little!
      Emily Greytak, GLSEN

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