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The importance of NOT being Other: Time to address the invisibility of nuanced gender and sexuality in clinical trials

Williams, Adam D. N., Hood, Kerenza ORCID:, Bracken, Karen and Shorter, Gillian W. 2023. The importance of NOT being Other: Time to address the invisibility of nuanced gender and sexuality in clinical trials. Trials 24 (1) , 242. 10.1186/s13063-023-07278-0

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Background: Representation of all members of society within research, especially those typically underserved, is needed to ensure that trial evidence applies to the relevant population, and that effective interventions are available to all. The lack of appropriate and representative options in demographic questions around sex, gender and sexuality may result in the exclusion of LGBTQIA + people from health research. Main body: Sex and gender are not the same, yet this is rarely recognised in trial data collection, with the terms sex and gender often being used interchangeably. Sex or gender is often used as a stratification factor at randomisation and/or to define sub-groups at the time of data analysis, so correct data collection is essential for producing high-quality science. Sexuality also suffers from ‘othering’ with identities not being acknowledged but simply provided as an alternative to the perceived main identities. When collecting sexuality information, it is important to consider the purposes of collecting this data. Conclusion: We call on those involved in trials to consider how sex, gender and sexuality data are collected, with an active consideration of inclusivity. Through the description of all non-straight, non-cisgender people as ‘other’ you may be ignoring the needs of these populations and doing science, yourself, and them a disservice. Inclusivity may require small but important changes to ensure your research findings are inclusive and develop the evidence base for often overlooked populations.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1745-6215
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 April 2023
Date of Acceptance: 24 March 2023
Last Modified: 14 May 2023 13:41

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