Asking about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Social Surveys in Japan: Findings from the Osaka City Residents’ Survey and Related Preparatory Studies

Hiramori, Daiki, and Saori Kamano. 2020. “Asking about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Social Surveys in Japan: Findings from the Osaka City Residents’ Survey and Related Preparatory Studies.” Journal of Population Problems 76(4):443-66.

Abstract: Most studies on the measurement of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in representative surveys are conducted in Western countries. Whether the findings from these studies are applicable to countries with legal, religious, and cultural contexts regarding sexual and gender minorities distinct from Western societies is yet to be explored. To fill this gap, this paper summarizes the findings from focus groups and a pilot survey conducted to develop SOGI questions in the Japanese context. For sexual orientation identity, a six-category question that includes definition of each category, and for transgender status, a three-step method, are suggested for general use. The paper also reports on percentage distributions of SOGI by assigned sex at birth and by age group based on the Osaka City Residents' Survey, one of the first population-based surveys in Japan with SOGI questions. Overall, our findings illustrate the significance of examining the measurement of SOGI beyond Western societies.

Keywords: recommended survey questions on SOGI, measurement, population-based study, LGBT, focus groups