Protocol - Sexual Orientation

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A multi-part question asking participants to describe their sexual orientation. Multiple response options are provided along with an open-ended option.

Specific Instructions

The three dimensions of sexuality—attraction, identity, and behavior—may not correspond to the same orientation.

Identity: A persons core internal sense of their sexuality.

Attraction: A multidimensional concept that includes the gender(s) to which a person is attracted and the strength of this attraction, including whether a person feels attraction at all.

Behavior: A multidimensional concept that includes the gender(s) of sexual partners, specific sexual activities, and frequency of activity.

A person’s sexual orientation does not always align with behavior or attraction. Sexual orientation is useful as basic demographic information.




1a. Which of the following best represents how you think of yourself?

[ ] Gay

[ ] Lesbian

[ ] Straight; that is, not gay or lesbian, etc.

[ ] Bisexual

[ ] None of these describe me, and I’d like to see additional options

Branching logic: If ‘none of these describe me, and I’d like to see additional options’ selected:

1b. Are any of these a closer description of how you think of yourself? 

[ ] Queer

[ ] Polysexual, omnisexual, sapiosexual or pansexual

[ ] Asexual

[ ] Two-spirit

[ ] Have not figured out or are in the process of figuring out your sexuality

[ ] Mostly straight, but sometimes attracted to people of your own sex

[ ] Do not think of yourself as having sexuality

[ ] Do not use labels to identity yourself

[ ] Don’t know the answer

[ ] No, I mean something else (optional free text) __________________

[ ] Prefer not to answer

Personnel and Training Required


Equipment Needs

The PhenX Steering Committee acknowledges these questions can be administered in a computerized or noncomputerized format (i.e., paper-and-pencil instrument). Computer software is necessary to develop computer-assisted instruments. The interviewer will require a laptop computer/handheld computer to administer a computer-assisted questionnaire."

Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Self-administered or interviewer-administered questionnaire


Adult, Senior


Adults aged 18 and older

Selection Rationale

This protocol was selected because it is both the most up-to-date and in use by the national All of Us research program.


English, Other languages available at source

Derived Variables


Process and Review

The NIH Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO) reviewed this protocol in August 2023.

  • Added NASEM report reference
  • Removed The Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program, Collins, F.S. and Varmus, H., and National Research Council references
  • Updated Specific Instructions
  • Updated Protocol Definition
  • Updated Purpose
  • Updated Keywords

Protocol Name from Source

All of Us Research Program, Participant Provided Information (PPI), 2018


All of Us Research Program Participant Provided Information (PPI) Version: December 17, 2018

General References

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Committee on National Statistics; Committee on Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation. Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation. Becker T, Chin M, Bates N, editors. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2022 Mar 9. PMID: 35286054.

Perron, T., Kartoz, C., Himelfarb, C., LGBTQ Youth Part 1. National Association of School Nurses, 2017 Mar. 32(2): 106-115.

Perron, T., Kartoz, C., Himelfarb, C. LGBTQ Part 2. National Association of School Nurses. 2017 Mar. 32(2): 116-121.

The GenIUSS Group. (2014). Best Practices for Asking Questions to Identify Transgender and Other Gender Minority Respondents on Population-Based Surveys. J.L. Herman (Ed.). Los Angeles, CA: The Williams Institute.

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX011701020100 Are any of these a closer description of how more
you think of yourself? show less
PX011701020200 Are any of these a closer description of how more
you think of yourself? Other show less
PX011701010000 Which of the following best represents how more
you think of yourself? show less
Measure Name

Sexual orientation

Release Date

June 4, 2019


Often defined based on the gender(s) of a person's desired or actual partner(s) relative to their own gender identity.


To obtain a person’s self-reported sexual orientation related to who they might be attracted to or partner with.


sex assigned at birth, gender, LGBTQ, LGBTQIA, gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, asexual, queer

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
11701 Sexual Orientation

Pomeroy, A., et al. (2022) Protocol for a Longitudinal Study of the Determinants of Metabolic Syndrome Risk in Young Adults. Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. 2022 April; 7(2): 8. doi: 10.1249/tjx.0000000000000197

Young Hye, K., et al. (2021) Predicting multilingual effects on executive function and individual connectomes in children: An ABCD study. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2021 December; 118(49): 1-11. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2110811118

Purvis, R. S., et al. (2021) Trusted Sources of COVID-19 Vaccine Information among Hesitant Adopters in the United States. Vaccines. 2021 December; 9(12): 1418. doi: 10.3390/vaccines9121418