On 24th October 2023, Sex Matters’ director of advocacy, Helen Joyce, talked with sociologists Michael Biggs and Lucinda Platt about the rights and wrongs of data collection, when it comes to sex and gender identity. Maya Forstater, executive director of Sex Matters introduced a new Sex Matters publication that sets out best practice for data collection, looking at the questions you should ask and the terms you should use based on what you need to know.
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About the speakers
Helen Joyce is a journalist and author of Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, an Amazon top ten bestseller, and Times of London and Spectator book of the year. She was a staff journalist at The Economist between 2005 and 2022, holding several senior positions, including International editor, Finance editor and Britain editor. She is director of advocacy for Sex Matters. Her newsletter can be found at thehelenjoyce.com.
Maya Forstater is a researcher, writer and advisor working on business and sustainable development. In 2019 she lost her job after tweeting and writing about sex and gender. She was the claimant in a landmark test case on whether the protected characteristic of belief in the Equality Act covers gender-critical beliefs. She writes about single-sex services at www.a-question-of-consent.net/. You can watch her speech at the 2020 Woman’s Place UK conference. Maya tweets at @MForstater
Michael Biggs is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Oxford. He has written on social movements and collective protest in all the leading disciplinary journals. In 2018 he started to scrutinise puberty suppression in paediatric gender medicine. The evidence of shoddy research practices he uncovered has been widely quoted in the media, and published in academic journals and book chapters. He was an expert witness in the groundbreaking judicial review of NHS paediatric gender services taken by Keira Bell.
Lucinda Platt is Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. A quantitative sociologist, she focuses on social mobility and economic and social inequalities between different groups, with a particular emphasis on ethnicity and migration. She is a panel member of the IFS Deaton Review of Inequality, and has long-standing interests in data collection. She is co-investigator on Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, and was formerly director of the Millennium Cohort Study. In 2020-21 she was a member of the UK Statistics Agency’s Inclusive Data Taskforce.
Read the new publication
Read the new guidance discussed in the webinar: Data matters: how to collect personal data on sex and transgender identity.
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