Bianca Wilson, public policy senior scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, spoke about issues surrounding LGBTQ+ youth, poverty and sexual health among queer women Thursday afternoon. The event was part of the Racial Foundations of Public Policy event series hosted by the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.
During Wilson’s speech she said she was excited to continue the conversation regarding LGBTQ+ research and public policy by discussing the different kinds of research that can be done in order to promote LGBTQ+ well-being.
Wilson states that she was part of a report commissioned by the National Institute of Health with National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) measurement.
“The census as it stands now does not include sexual orientation or gender identity in a way that allows us to distinguish between cisgender and transgender people or the community population survery, which gives us better data on economic status,” Wilson said. “Our bottom line was that we have known it is possible for some time.”
Throughout the event, Wilson said while LGBTQ+ individuals are overrepresented in the foster care system, there is little research examining the exact number of individuals involved; she said there is an ongoing need for more research and data around the LGBTQ+ experience in the U.S.
“Despite having successfully advocated for resources to be devoted to the issue, multiple administrators and child welfare workers and policy advocates noted that data was still needed that actually assesses: ‘How many LGBTQ+ youth are there in the system?’” Wilson said. “Not knowing the answer to that question continued to impact people’s ability to talk about what the needs were and whether this was a priority need.”
Public Policy junior Aditi Vijendra also attended Wilson’s event and talked about how decisions regarding LGBTQ+ community members are important throughout public policy.
“I thought it was really cool that this (speech) focused on an entire demographic of people,” Vijendra said. “Spotlighting and understanding the effects (of the lack of research) on LGBTQ+ people is so important in every aspect of policy.”
In an interview with The Michigan Daily after the event, Wilson said the series hosted by the Ford School of Public Policy, is a good way to digest difficult topics regarding public policy.
“I had the expectation that we would have this conversation and that there might be some difficult questions that I hadn’t thought about before,” Wilson said. “I would say those expectations were met, but in a very affirming environment. I felt that the interim deans questions were clearly grounded in a deep interest in social justice and public policy. And I really appreciate the thoughtfulness around it.”
Wilson said she enjoyed speaking about LGBTQ+ policy in order to further the conversation regarding LGBTQ+ people within American society.
“I was excited to join a conversation about the way race plays out in LGBT public policy research,” Wilson said. “And aim to talk about how data informed some of that thinking about race and LGBT public policy.”
Daily News Contributor Bailey Onixt can be reached at email@example.com.