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Improving How the City of Boston Collects Gender Data

We're improving the way we ask people about their gender identity.

Changing the data collection process

What We’re Trying to Achieve

Right now, we ask residents about gender identity to deliver key services. But when we ask, we often aren't using language that represents all gender identities and may not even need gender identity to deliver some of these services. We want to understand how to ask about gender identity in an accessible, affirming, and safe way.

What WE DId 

Over several months, we led a mix of projects to address this issue, including:

  • Literature Review of Best Practices
  • Process mapping of the Boston Marriage License experience
  • Engagement with Governor and state government about gender inclusion priorities
  • Focus Groups with Boston residents
  • Survey about language on the Marriage License

We used the results to do two things. First, we made the marriage license process more inclusive. Next, we created Gender Aware Guidelines and Standards for City departments to use to ask about gender identity. Now, we are training City departments on the guidelines to ensure compliance.

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