Written By: Rosanna Price 17/7/15
Statistics New Zealand take a leaf out of Facebook, which lobbied for its users to freely self-identify their gender earlier this year.
A new gender option will be available in the collection and sharing of public information, and New Zealand is the first country to introduce it.
The ‘gender diverse’ classification will be available when Statistics New Zealand collects and shares information. It represents those who see themselves as different from ‘male’ or ‘female’.
Statistics NZ’s classifications manager Jo-anne Allan said that over time the term would become more widely used and accepted.
“It’s a complex issue as gender identity is about how a person feels and experiences their gender, which can change over their lifetime,” she said. “We’ve worked with a wide range of government and community groups to finalise this standard and the terminology.
“We believe the gender diverse population see it as a step towards being seen, counted, and understood.”
Human Rights Commissioner Richard Tankersley welcomed the introduction. He wanted to see questions based upon this standard included in the next census.
“This gender diverse standard paves the way for the New Zealand Government to collect data on people with diverse gender identities in a way that has never been possible, leading to a better understanding of the need for recognition and inclusion of the range of trans people in New Zealand, and to advancing the full realisation of their human rights.”
While the term has been set as a gender standard for government organisations collecting and sharing information, it is not mandatory and is only recommended.