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Gender identity standard world-first in New Zealand

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‘Gender diverse’ will join ‘male’ and ‘female’ categories in a new gender-identity classification released today by Statistics New Zealand. This new classification records the identity of all people, including those who see themselves as different from male or female, and forms an integral part of the Statistical Standard for Gender Identity.

The Statistical Standard for Gender Identity was developed through consultation with groups representing people with different gender identities and with government organisations who will use the new classifications.

Gender identity is about how a person identifies themselves – as wholly male, wholly female, or having aspects of either or both. It is different from a person’s biological sex. Statistical standards are used to help organisations plan how best to collect the information they need.

Statistics NZ’s classifications manager Jo-anne Allan says the new standard is the first in the world for gender identity information.

“The term gender diverse is fairly new but we believe that over time it will be widely used and accepted. We recommend this term for official statistical use,” Ms Allan said.

“It’s a complex issue as gender identity is about how a person feels and experiences their gender, which can change over their lifetime. 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. The standard expands gender identity categories beyond the current female/male boundaries.”

Ms Allan says gender information is personal and should only be collected when there’s a good reason to do so.

Use of the statistical standard is not mandatory but several government organisations are considering how to implement it. Statistics NZ will also consider how to use the standard across its information collection.

See Statistical standard for gender identity for more information.

For media enquiries contact:
Colin Marshall
Senior Media Advisor
Tel: 04 931 4630
Mob: 021 285 9191
Email: colin.marshall@stats.govt.nz

Published 17 July 2015

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