Advocating for the Inclusion of Gender Expansive Youth in your State or Local Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS)

August 31, 2016

Last week we held a webinar for Equality Federation members about how your organization can engage in Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) advocacy in your states and municipalities by adding an optional question on gender expansive youth. Adding this question to the survey will allow us to gather population-based health data on gender non-conforming, gender expansive, and nonbinary youth for the first time ever. The window for this advocacy is pretty short.

Nearly all sites will finalize their YRBS surveys by early Fall 2016 and the YRBS is on a 2 year cycle, so this is a time-sensitive matter. The YRBS coordinators in various states and localities are moving forward and NOW is the time for you to take action.

The YRBS is the primary federal survey administered by the CDC to collect health and risk behavior data about secondary school-age youth in states and large municipalities around the country. While the majority of state and local surveys include sexual orientation questions, very few sites collect data on transgender or gender expansive youth. So far, only 4 municipalities use this optional question to assess gender expression. There are currently no approved questions to assess gender identity.

Our friends at Advocates for Youth and the Parallax Group have been working on this substantial advocacy project and are available to guide you through the process. Please click here for a one-pager with questions and answers about Gender Expression & the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System: Identifying and Addressing Vulnerable Student Health Risks, which also provides contact information for Advocates for Youth and the Parallax Group. Additionally, please contact for a recording of the webinar we offered on this topic.

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