May 2020

Development of an affirming and customizable electronic survey of sexual and reproductive health experiences for transgender and gender nonbinary people

 Moseson H, Lunn M, Katz A, Fix L, Durden M, Stoeffler A, Hastings J, Cudlitz L, Goldberg E, Lesser-Lee B, Letcher L, Reyes A, Flentje A, Capriotti M, Lubensky M, Obedin-Maliver J.Development of an affirming and customizable electronic survey of sexual and reproductive health experiences for transgender and gender nonbinary people. PLOS ONE. May 2020. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0232154

Abstract: To address pervasive measurement biases in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) research, our interdisciplinary team created an affirming, customizable electronic survey to measure experiences with contraceptive use, pregnancy, and abortion for transgender and gender nonbinary people assigned female or intersex at birth and cisgender sexual minority women. Between May 2018 and April 2019, we developed a questionnaire with 328 items across 10 domains including gender identity; language used for sexual and reproductive anatomy and events; gender affirmation process history; sexual orientation and sexual activity; contraceptive use and preferences; pregnancy history and desires; abortion history and preferences; priorities for sexual and reproductive health care; family building experi- ences; and sociodemographic characteristics. Recognizing that the words people use for their sexual and reproductive anatomy can vary, we programmed the survey to allow partici- pants to input the words they use to describe their bodies, and then used those customized words to replace traditional medical terms throughout the survey. This process-oriented paper aims to describe the rationale for and collaborative development of an affirming, cus- tomizable survey of the SRH needs and experiences of sexual and gender minorities, and to present summary demographic characteristics of 3,110 people who completed the survey. We also present data on usage of customizable words, and offer the full text of the survey, as well as code for programming the survey and cleaning the data, for others to use directly or as guidelines for how to measure SRH outcomes with greater sensitivity to gender diver- sity and a range of sexual orientations.