New Zealanders who identify as neither wholly male nor wholly female will be able to list themselves as “gender diverse” in what the nation’s statistics agency says is a world first.
The agency and several other government organizations are considering how to use the new standard in data collection, Statistics New Zealand said in a statement Friday.
“The standard expands gender identity categories beyond the current female/male boundaries,” said Jo-anne Allan, classifications manager at Statistics New Zealand in Christchurch. “The term gender diverse is fairly new but we believe that over time it will be widely used and accepted.”
The Statistical Standard for Gender Identity is different from a person’s biological sex. New Zealand’s transgender population has pushed for the change, including a 2011 campaign to tick both male and female boxes in the census.
“It’s a complex issue as gender identity is about how a person feels and experiences their gender, which can change over their lifetime,” said Allan.