Sexual orientation as an overlooked variable: terminological, methodological, and contextual issues concerning sexuality measurement as part of „representative” surveys. Do 4 % still count?
Keywords:sexuality, non-heterosexuality, homosexuality, methodology of measurement, representative prevalence studies
Research has long pointed to a number of health inequalities and differences in the quality of life of people, whose main distinguishing feature is their sexual orientation, sexual self-identification, or sexuality in general. However, this diversity is rarely included among demographic questions, so we currently face not only the unavailability of essential data but also many ambiguities associated with the “measurement of sexuality” in research. This article has four interconnected primary goals. First, to contribute to the discussion, which may identify the absence of items determining the sexuality of respondents in relevant studies as a significant barrier limiting the availability of information about the health of non-heterosexual people. Further, it clarifies key terminological issues, which are mainly related to the continually evolving sexual-identity terminology. Third, it focuses on the discussion of methodological but also contextual pitfalls, which touch on the issue of measuring in the field of sexuality and contribute to various types of selection bias. In the final part, the question of “representativeness” of available research results is discussed, and using current Czech and foreign representative surveys, the question of whether it is still true that non-heterosexual people make up 4% of the population is addressed.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Michal Pitoňák
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