A two-question method for assessing gender categories in the social and medical sciences

J Sex Res. 2013;50(8):767-76. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2012.690110. Epub 2012 Sep 18.


Three studies (N = 990) assessed the statistical reliability of two methods of determining gender identity that can capture transgender spectrum identities (i.e., current gender identities different from birth-assigned gender categories). Study 1 evaluated a single question with four response options (female, male, transgender, other) on university students. The missing data rate was higher than the valid response rates for transgender and other options using this method. Study 2 evaluated a method of asking two separate questions (i.e., one for current identity and another for birth-assigned category), with response options specific to each. Results showed no missing data and two times the transgender spectrum response rate compared to Study 1. Study 3 showed that the two-question method also worked in community samples, producing near-zero missing data. The two-question method also identified cisgender identities (same birth-assigned and current gender identity), making it a dynamic and desirable measurement tool for the social and medical sciences.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • California
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Universities