Letter from APS leadership

APS Letter of Support for the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act

June 13, 2023

The Honorable Tammy Baldwin
US Senate
709 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Raúl Grijalva
US House of Representatives
1203 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senator Baldwin and Representative Grijalva:

On behalf of the more than 50,000 members of the American Physical Society (APS) — the largest physics membership organization in the United States — I would like to thank you and your cosponsors for reintroducing the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act. APS supports developing standards to improve the ability of the Federal Government and the scientific community to make data-informed policy decisions that advance equity for the LGBTQI+ community. This bill is a vital step towards achieving this goal.

One of the American Physical Society’s core values is diversity, inclusion, and respect, and we strive to create and support a diverse physics community. We support a number of efforts to help improve racial and ethnic diversity in physics. Our National Mentoring Network increases the number of underrepresented minority students who complete bachelor’s degrees in physics, and the Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN) supports Black, Latine, and Indigenous students’ attainment of doctoral degrees in the physical sciences. While these programs strengthen representation of racial and ethnic minorities in physics, we currently lack the data to even understand or assess LGBTQI+ diversity in physics, much less to strategize effective interventions to support this dimension of diversity. Improved data collection related to LGBTQI+ individuals is needed for us to measure and continue strengthening diversity in our field.

APS produced a report in 2016 assessing the climate for LGBTQI+ physicists across the country. The findings and recommendations of this report have guided the Society’s advocacy and activities, and a key recommendation was the need for voluntary survey demographic questions around sexual orientation and gender identity. Moreover, studies analyzed in the report found significant differences in the frequency of adverse experiences between men, women, cisgender, and transgender categories. This suggests that combining LGBTQI+ individuals into a single statistical group may obscure meaningful in-group differences and underestimate the severity of disparities for individuals of multiply marginalized identities. These issues would be addressed by the provisions of your bill.

It is now more important than ever that we have this data on federal surveys, especially as some state-level policies have made activities around diversity, equity, and inclusion fraught. The LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act would codify a crucial pathway toward data collection for future data-informed policy. We look forward to working with you to build support among your colleagues for this important bill.

Thank you again for your continued leadership to advance equity for the LGBTQI+ community. If you have questions or would like to further discuss APS’s support for this legislation, please do not hesitate to contact APS Director of Government Affairs Mark Elsesser; 202.846.8121).


Robert Rosner

PresidentAmerican Physical Society


More information

  1. ga@aps.org
  1. LGBT Climate in Physics report

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