Queering the Question: Using Survey Marginalia to Capture Gender Fluidity in Housing and Child Welfare


This research uses survey marginalia to differentiate the housing and child welfare experiences of youth identifying as gender non-conforming from their peers identifying as cisgender LGB. Marginalia references the unexpected responses people provide by writing in instrument margins or not complying with research tools. Findings indicate that data-cleaning and discrete questions about identity can erase youth identifying as gender queer or gender fluid from sampling as data noise, prompting an underreported incidence of risk. The inclusion of marginalia surfaces youth who are otherwise miscategorized or eliminated from sampling and alters the findings on trajectories from foster care to homelessness, experiences with violence, and incidence of harassment within social services. The paper presents an alternative method of including these youth in measurement bringing visibility to the intersection of housing insecurity, child welfare, and gender identity.

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