Statistics NZ are considering including a question on gender identity in the next census. This is great! What’s not so great is their current recommendation is to exclude it on the basis that it could be a confusing question, because to most people the distinction between sex and gender is confusing.
Here’s the wording:
Due to a lack of a classification, we have not tested possible questions on gender identity. Whether a standalone question would work on a self-completed form such as the census is not well understood. People may confuse or not understand the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ which are conceptually different, and not interchangeable.
Stats are important. They’re incredibly useful for advocacy work. The Youth12 data has been incredibly useful to many of us for pushing for a hard line. They tell us that our trans and gender diverse youth are suffering from mental illness, self-harm, suicide, bullying, abuse. We’re able to put this data to universities, schools, and other institutions to prove to them that they need to do better.
That’s why I’m upset about this. The Youth12 data was helpful but this would be an even bigger step forward. Having relatively concrete data on the amount of trans and gender diverse people in the country would help significantly for many advocates pushing on the government and NGOs for change. Letting that go just because the question may cause confusion seems a weak response compared to the potential improvement in living conditions and the lives saved.
So I’m going to be pushing for this to be changed on the Census’ Loomio, and I ask that others do too.