18 Jul 2015

New gender category 'problematic'

10:20 am on 18 July 2015

A conservative Christian lobby group says Statistics New Zealand is ignoring logic and asking for a barrage of abuse by bringing in a new gender identity classification.

LGBT rainbow flag (file photo)

Photo: Creative Commons/Ludovic Bertron

The term 'gender diverse' is being introduced as a category to encompass people who do not identify as either male or female.

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said he was questioning the reasoning behind the move, as it only fuelled gender-identity politics.

"I've seen even trans advocate group say that it's open to harmful misuse or misinterpretation, so when those groups themselves are saying that it's problematic, then I think Statistics NZ are going to realise just how problematic the whole issue is."

He said Statistics New Zealand should stick to what is objective and measurable, namely male and female categories only.

Auckland trans activist Jennifer Shields said in a blog post published yesterday that the new standard, which gives transgender people the option to identify further as 'transgender male to female' or 'transgender female to male', risked otherising transgender people.

"It will capture data on the non-binary population relatively well, but is insufficient for capturing actual data on gender identity overall. It also relies on terminology many in the community refuse to use."

Rainbow Youth general manager Duncan Matthews told Radio New Zealand that he hoped the change would help government and non-government organisations record data about non-binary individuals in a consistent way, particularly in the context of health.

"Different generations prefer different terms: 'gender diverse' may not sit well with everyone, but it is hopefully encompassing of more identities than other terms that may be more specific."

"We currently don't actually capture correct information, as many people can't accurately record their gender identity on a form."