Gender identity

SD Sophie Davies Public Seen by 450

Gender identity is a person’s internal, deeply felt sense of being male or female (or something other or in between). A person’s gender identity may or may not correspond with their sex.

Currently there is no standardised approach for collecting and storing gender identity data in New Zealand. Development is well underway on statistical standards and classifications on gender identity.

A 2014 report from the Human Rights Commission (HRC) highlighted the need for visibility as a means of promoting equality and decreasing the likelihood of discrimination. HRC argued that insufficient data limits policymakers’ ability to quantify the issues affecting gender identity minority groups and to develop ways to adequately address the health and social needs of these populations.

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.

Our current recommendations relating to gender identity

  • We recommend that gender identity not be included in the 2018 Census.

See our preliminary view of 2018 Census content (page 28) for a more detailed discussion on gender identity information

Week 1 Summary

15 people have been commenting about Gender Identity.

  • there is support for collecting data about Gender Identity
  • data about gender identity would help validate the variety of gender identities
  • data could help to allocate funding in the health system for relevant services
  • terminology is difficult but shouldn't be a reason for not collecting the information

Lisa (Facilitator) Tue 28 Apr 2015 11:37PM

Kia ora, talofa, hello, and welcome to the Census 2018 discussion on Gender Identity. Statistics New Zealand wants to know what people think, so here’s your chance to have your say. I am really looking forward to hearing from you on this topic.

I am also facilitating the discussions on sex and sexual orientation.


Kabel Manga Fri 1 May 2015 2:14AM

Similar to my post in the Sexual orientation discussion, the gender diverse world gets excluded and ignored enough just because somebody doesnt know how to talk about it. Removing gender entirely is such a waste of an opportunity to use those numbers in bettering the services the gender diverse community use and therefor betting the lives of these New Zealanders. Don't exclude people and their journeys just because you don't know how to talk about it.


Megan Bowra-Dean Fri 1 May 2015 3:21AM

I appreciate Statistics New Zealand's concerns on inclusion of gender identity questions in the census, as to potential confusion among the cisgender population due to the lack of education around gender identity.

I do hope that Statistics New Zealand is however exploring alternative options for collecting nationwide statistics from gender minorities. Statistics are important for presenting to government departments and NGOs to recognise areas in which the community is discriminated against, beyond the current reliance on individual experiences. Statistics New Zealand is still in the best place to collect these statistics, due to the lack of large organised bodies representing the interests of gender minorities in New Zealand.


Lisa (Facilitator) Fri 1 May 2015 3:33AM

Thanks for starting the discussion @kabelmanga1, and welcome. Just to clarify, the census is still proposing to collect sex and gender identity has never been included. Kabel has used the term 'gender diverse' . Other people who are reading this - are there other preferred terms?


Jennifer Katherine Shields Fri 1 May 2015 3:55AM

I agree with Megan, possible confusion simply isn't good enough a reason to exclude this question.

The statistics that this would provide would give many of us really strong backing in our advocacy work for trans communities.

I do a lot of work in advocacy for trans youth. We got some hard stats in the Youth12 study last year on trans and gender diverse youth, significantly around health and wellbeing - and they're not positive. But having those stats has definitely made a difference, we've been able to say definitively that this is happening, that we have higher rates of mental illness, abuse, suicide, etc, and that something needs to be done. But those stats alone aren't enough, and census data would make a real difference.

The other problem with collecting data on sex is that the term is ambiguous - you're going to get a lot of confusion from trans and gender diverse people about what you mean by that, because as a trans woman given only an option for 'sex' on a form, I'm going to write down "female". I know what you mean by sex, and I understand what you want me to say, but my identity as a trans woman is more important to me and more significant to your data than the sex I was assigned at birth. The solution to this confusion and this potential loss of important data isn't clarifying what sex means, it's including gender identity in census questions.


Megan Bowra-Dean Fri 1 May 2015 4:06AM

Perhaps you can answer this @LisaAtStats but I am wondering why there seems to have been little produced from the submissions Statistics New Zealand took on developing a statistical standard for gender identity. Many of the things that are being said here I and others submitted back in July-August 2014 i.e. a good 9 months ago.


Lisa (Facilitator) Fri 1 May 2015 4:29AM

@Alana (topic expert) can you let @meganbowradean1 and the rest of us know where the Gender Identity statistics standard and classification is at? I know you've been doing a lot of work on it lately.

And welcome to @jenniferkatherines. Just adding a link to the Youth12 project you mentioned.

We also have an introductions page if anyone would like to introduce yourself, tell us if you represent just yourself, or an organisation or group of people, why you've joined the forum etc... (it's great to have you here).


Racheal McGonigal Fri 1 May 2015 5:15AM

I agree with Jennifers comments re asking and using the term 'sex'. I think 'gender Identity' is the more important term to use.
This comment in the intro also worries me...
"People may confuse or not understand the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ which are conceptually different, and not interchangeable."
I think the only people who will be confused by those terms are those who are non gender variant in some way. To me the majority to transgender folk, if not all, understand the differance between ones 'sex' and ones 'gender' and 'gender identity.'
I also agree with Jennifer in that while the TG community may be a small percentage of the population, it is a hugely unknown and under recognised community. Albeit that other agencies such as MoH, DoC and NZTA may collect some data, it is limited to only those who use those departments and doesnt cover (supposedly) all NZers. So there data would not be as applicable as that of Statics NZ.
In trying to work with agencies, their funding, interest is very much based around being able to show them numbers.
Collecting these numbers, imho, is of the utmost importance to the Transgender community and those with the potential to offer them help.


Damian Light Fri 1 May 2015 5:24AM

We definitely need to be capturing this information - it's critical to identifying potential issues or opportunities. If we accept that gender and sexual orientation is not binary, its more complex than it used to be - but this isn't a valid reason for excluding it. The same issue would've happened a few generations ago around relationships - you were married or single. Now we accept relationships are more complex and yet we seem to able to cope with them.


Amber I Fri 1 May 2015 11:20AM

After reading this thread I agree with majority of the commentary and my question would be what data would Statistics NZ and/or the community wanting to be gathered in relation to gender identity? If the answer to that question is to quantify the amount of people within the queer community or the people who do not conform to the gender binary then that's a self identification question - do you identify within/as "x" (the term best suited can be used). However, if the information wanted is something else I hesitate to encourage questions that may be offensive or invasive to be included within the census.


Racheal McGonigal Fri 1 May 2015 11:49PM

Amber raises an interesting point that I dont know how to answer. 'What question would you ask?'
See I believe in the binary but am happy if others dont. I also dont belong to the queer community.
I am a sex change female and so really these days just female. Would tick female, never an 'x' box. I would tick a Transgender box but not a queer box.
I know many Transsexuals who would feel as I do.
We need the information and dont see how anyone should take offense or feel these type of questions to be invasive. They are information gathering that is need and will help the various communities.


Kay Sat 2 May 2015 12:22AM

Many New Zealanders are more knowledgeable about gender identity than Statistics suggests. Yes, there are ongoing discussions about which terms to use. Discussions about whether New Zealand European or Pakeha is the preferred term has not prevented the Census from asking about ethnicity. Decisions about which terms is a detail that can be resolved. Getting the questions about gender identity and other aspects of diversity are important for decisions on funding and need for relevant health services. Standards New Zealand has developed a Rainbow inclusive workplace standard, and drivers' licenses and passports and some official forms have three (or more) gender options and there is no good reason for the Census not to continue this pattern. In fact, it is even more important for the Census to include this to ensure that Government decisions based on population diversity can start having a statistical rather than anecdotal basis.


C. H. Rose Sat 2 May 2015 12:47AM

My comments in the "sex" discussion would also apply here - I refuse to tick male or female regardless of my biological gender. I might use gendered public bathrooms, but I draw the line at any form that supposedly defines who I am.


Rowan Burnett-Jones Sat 2 May 2015 3:35AM

I feel like the really important paragraph there, is the one from HRC - its really clearly laid out that insufficient data is limiting and something needs to be done about that, and the census is probably one of the better ways. Because I'm fairly certain that I have never been included in any other survey like that - it seems that data will be missed in a lot of places. And its needed data as the others have said. Also just because no other countries have done this so far doesn't mean that we shouldn't think about it.


Lisa (Facilitator) Sat 2 May 2015 9:03AM

Would be interested in more answers to @amberigasia's question about how people would use data on gender identity?

In an attempt to unworry you @rachealmcgonigal, about our statement above “People may confuse or not understand the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ which are conceptually different, and not interchangeable": as you state "the only people who will be confused by those terms are those who are non gender variant in some way". And these people who are non gender variant in some way are (we presume) a large majority of people. But @kayscarlet is also suggesting that many non gender variant people are aware of the difference between 'sex' and 'gender identity'.

Hi and welcome also to @damianlight @chrose @rowanburnettjones - thanks for your contributions to this great discussion.


C. H. Rose Sat 2 May 2015 10:01PM

Sexual orientation has nothing to do with gender identity - which yes, can be different to biological sex or at least sex assigned at birth. Many people taking part in this thread can probably confirm this, including myself.


Racheal McGonigal Sat 2 May 2015 10:20PM

@Guy Marriage, this is meant with respect but did you read the first sentence in the header? Gender and sex are basically the same, you are correct but sex and gender identity is totally different. This shows a good example as to why the question is needed to be included as for no other reason it will make people think and help people to understand their are differences between sex/gender and gender identity.
@CH Rose, agreed. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with gender identity. Totally different and unrelated in anyway.


Racheal McGonigal Sat 2 May 2015 11:02PM

@Lisa, How would the statistics be used?
Well several have commented re dealing with various health institutions and that is an obvious one. I, like many others, have tried to lobby DHB's, MoH and other health agencies but it is hard when there are no statistics to show the numbers affected or the potential numbers. Currently, numbers are merely a pick them out of the air game or use some poor overseas university numbers gathered from a population base that may have some similarites but are different than here in NZ. It is too easy for the institutions here to dismiss them as the numbers here and be told the numbers here cant be that big.
I have no problems with how others identify but it has also become clear to me over the years, that while I use to feel Transsexuals were a minority within a minority, I am no longer sure that is the case. I have now met and found so many Transsexuals who are what many call 'stealth'. They are happy in who/what they are and just living their life in the real world. As bank tellers, checkout operators, lawyers, parts managers and more.They will tick 'F' or 'M' on your statistic form, based on their gender identity. But they too often still have needs non gender variant people dont understand and are not being met. Trying to argue for them is hard when we cant show numbers.
What question do you ask? Well even here is hard and we have seen earlier mentions of the Transgender community and the Queer Community. I know many who will not tick the boxes. I personally will not tick the 'Queer Community' box and even the 'Transgender Community' box isnt really right but I would feel right ticking a 'Transsexual community' box. I think what is needed is not what community we belong to but how we chose to identify. ie, I would tick 'female' and also 'Transsexual'. I know alot the same as I.
Being able to bore down would provide useful and meaningful numbers. In dealing with health dept's I was once told 'Transsexual' is an outdated term and no longer used. Rubbish, as there are many who still use it but it is hard to show the numbers. Alas the Transsexuals are too busy existing, worrying and working for their hormones, surgeries, life and dont wish to stand out so alas it is too often the voices of the young non Transsexual, Transgender or Queer folk who are standing up and speaking up. The Transsexuals are not being heard or represented as their numbers are not seen. Yet they all too often have the greatest needs.
They arent being recognised as there is nothing to show the numbers out there in NZ. We desperately need statistics to show the numbers.
Other ways, beyond health, that the numbers can be used is championing other GVT departments such as education, employment, Police, Corrections and more. Just in being able to show NZ society that the Transgender/Queer communities make up a significant section of NZ. I believe it will be way larger than most assume.
I also think the collection of these figures will also help Internationally and with various UN agencies, to show NZ is taking positive steps to be inclussive to all. Overseas, hopefully it will help show other countries they may well have a sector that is bigger than they realised and therefore they need to be looking at those communities within their own countries. From Australia with its TG/TS/Q communities to the PI countries and their gender variant communities.
I am sure I have merely scratched the surface of the ways the numbers can be used. For now, all we have is to 'assume' and that just means we make an ass out of u and me.


Racheal McGonigal Sat 2 May 2015 11:22PM

@Guy Marriage, happy to discuss as long as it stays amicable. No disrespect is ever meant from me but I am a driver not a diplomat.
You are correct in that gender and sex are basically the same. As much as we oft hear arguments saying what about chromosomes, who has ever had their chromosomes checked in the world? Sex/gender is basically decided at birth by the Doctor/Midwife who spreads a babies legs and depending upon what they see, will announce 'boy' or 'girl'. That is what decides sex/gender.

But 'gender identity' is totally different. That is how we identify. I have several Transsexual friends who I am jealous of, who are so feminine in appearance, mannerisms, emotionally and yet still have a male appendage between the legs. There is no way I would ever regard them as anything other than female.Their 'gender identity' is female and you would not spot them as anything other than female and yet while it has been made easier in recent years to change, they still have an 'M' on their birth certificate in the 'sex' category. It will cost them to have the mistake corrected.

Gender is totally different than gender identity.

I still choose to identify as 'Transsexual' but many friends have told me that I should drop it as I am no longer Transsexual but just another female. My gender/sex is female, medically and legally but I choose to identify as Transsexual as I try to help those who follow my journey, with their own.


Racheal McGonigal Sun 3 May 2015 4:06AM

@ Guy Marriage, thanks. I believe in standing up and answering questions. Its only if we allow questions and answer them, that others can understand. Alas too many Trans/Transgender/Queer folk take exception to questions and so too often stymy learning and understanding. Often putting the backs up of those who are trying to understand.

Agreed and understand that we dont want the questions so hard they confuse people but really how hard is a question 'How would you describe your gender identity?' Then with a list of male, female, Transsexual, Queer, Crossdresser, etc and including 'other' and the ability to write it. People also need to be able to tick male or female and another option.
Is that really too hard or confusing? Am sure it would help give the show of numbers, most of us seek.


Kay Sun 3 May 2015 4:44AM

Currently the health system uses population based funding formulae for determining how much funding to allocate to different types of treatments and training of health practitioners etc. This may work out OK for determining levels of provision for e.g. treatment of diabetes and training for people to manage their condition. In the case of people who are transgender and who wish to transition, including seeking medical treatments including surgery, underestimates of population numbers mean there is less provision than would be expected. Some transgender people don't want medical treatments, but I understand that many do. Overseas research indicates that around 1 in 300 people are gender diverse. It would help with health service and health workforce planning is we had New Zealand numbers too.


Kay Sun 3 May 2015 5:14AM

Since we are part of the Pacific, there may be many names for personal identities (like fafa'afine or takataapui). Rather than name them all, having a drop-down box for more common choices, and allowing a write in option for other identities would be helpful.


Nat Sun 3 May 2015 5:34AM

I think the confusion is a false flag. Even if they're confused about the presence of the question, a cishet person is going to look at the options present for sex and know what to pick, and the options for gender identity and know what to pick.

If they've never questioned or wondered if their identity doesn't match that assigned at birth, they will pick male/man and female/woman without much hesitation. They may wonder why you're asking, but that's not really a valid reason to neglect to ask a question where the data output drive quality-of-life improvements for the trans community.


Racheal McGonigal Sun 3 May 2015 6:25AM

@Kay Scarlet great points thanks. and @Nat.

@Guy Marriage, the terms used by Kay - fafa'afine or takataapui, relate more to Gender Identity, not sexuality.

Personally, I know many Fafa'afine and imho they are different than alot of TS/TG/Q but one needs to understand them. They are beautiful. But it honestly isnt sexuality but gender identity.


Kay Sun 3 May 2015 7:05AM

Thanks @Rachael I need to be careful which thread I am posting in ;-) Gender identity and sexual orientation are definitely different.

Fafa'afine is a gender identity term for Samoan people assigned male at birth who identify with the spirit of a woman. Takataapui is a Maori term, originally for intimate friend of the same gender (LGB) but now often used as an umbrella term for Maori people with LGBTIQ identities.
Identity can be complex (see thesis) but questions can be simple.


Racheal McGonigal Sun 3 May 2015 9:22AM

@Kay Scarlet, Thanks. Personally I believe Identity is not complex at all. If we are allowed to identify as we wish and believe correct.
It is only when you introduce GVT dept's, University Students and Professors, Acedemics and Statistics folk etc that it becomes complex.
I am who I am and you need to accept that, rather than tell me I am not who I am.


Racheal McGonigal Sun 3 May 2015 9:24AM

@Guy Marriage, sorry you feel you have to agree with me. You dont.


Damian Light Sun 3 May 2015 10:23AM

I think this discussion highlights why it's so important that these questions are asked - it's clear that there are different opinions on how people describe their gender identity. And, without wanting to offend anyone, it's very much based on each persons own experience. What we need is more information which the whole point of the census - collect as much information as possible from almost everyone.

Is it a tough question to ask? Not really, you offer as many choices that make sense and allow people to put other and describe it.


Lisa (Facilitator) Sun 3 May 2015 11:23PM

One potential benefit of these discussions is education and helping people to understand the topic and issues better, so welcome to @guymarriage, and great to see you asking some clarifying questions. And thanks to those who have answered - it's great to see people with different views having calm discussions Also welcome to those 'likers' out there (who haven't posted) but are still letting us know what you think.

Also a usability hint: if you put a @ before someones name (as you can see people doing) the system notifies them to let them know they have been mentioned.


Stefan Mon 4 May 2015 12:37AM

Could the census not include a definition of each option to make the distinction between sex and gender identity clear to respondents? It's not a terribly complex concept, and should be easily explainable in a paragraph, perhaps paired with a URL linking to more information. Make the question optional, and include a 'Refused' option to facilitate those that find the question too difficult or foreign.


Ella Anais Mon 4 May 2015 1:58AM

Absolutely 100% support gender identity being a part of the Census. Gender minorities are hugely and massively marginalised - many people don't even know that they exist!! Allowing people to represent themselves and compiling nationwide statistics to get an idea of the prevalence is a good start. As a Pasifika country I do believe that terms such as takataapui and fa'afafine should be indluded as they are different than words like "transgender" or "genderqueer". I think also this is a situation where people should be allowed to select all that apply. Like if "female" and "male" are options and so are "transgender" "genderqueer" "agender" "cisgender" "fa'afafine" "takataapui" etc and someone might select "cisgender" and "male", or "female" and "transgender" or "transgender" and "fa'afafine" because many people would use more than one of these terms to describe their genders.


C. H. Rose Mon 4 May 2015 4:56AM

I am going to copy & paste my response from the sex thread because it is more of my thoughts for this topic too:

"I think the really important thing - both for the sex and gender identity question - is to get an idea of how many people in New Zealand are not cis. Could it not be possible to preface any gender or sex questions with this query? And from there people could select male, female or other, with other splitting into a number of pre-defined options and an ability to write in?"


Kiran Foster Mon 4 May 2015 5:34AM

@guymarriage , that's categorically not true. The word cis has been used for much longer than that. Also, your options would not be of much use to many of the organizations who would make use of these statistics - it does not show who is transgender at all, for one.

However - I do think that "are you non-cis" isn't the way to go, although the sentiment is ideal: something like "Is the gender you were assigned at birth the one you still feel you are?" or similar, perhaps?


Kiran Foster Mon 4 May 2015 5:50AM

@guymarriage ...because the OED, and not even the well-known OED, is the marker for when words have been used? Has it occurred to you that maybe queer communities have been using them for much longer and perhaps lexicographers don't pay attention to them?


Kiran Foster Mon 4 May 2015 6:04AM

Upon thought, actually: since to the best of my understanding it's recommended that transgender people mark their sex as the gender they are living as (I'll say more about this later), it might be ideal to simply ask "Are you or can you be reasonably described as transgender?"

This would be clear as well as including people like myself who only identify themselves as transgender when needed for statistical purposes because their gender identities are culturally specific.

Anyway, on sex: as somebody who is both intersex (biologically ambiguous) and has a gender identity which is neither male or female (often described as non-binary), I'd strongly suggest that in accompaniment to this the options for sex are expanded to include a "neither" or "X" as is seen on passports.


Damian Light Mon 4 May 2015 6:08AM

I don't understand why we wouldn't list the most common eight-ten and capture the stats. If people identify with more than one, let them.

For ethnic groups (which some people might argue is self determined), in 2011 and 2013 there was eight options plus an other.


Kiran Foster Mon 4 May 2015 6:15AM

@damianlight - this is true. I feel that the ethnicity options are also inadequate (I'm mixed-race), but that is definitely a workable option. Honestly I think most groups would be happy with any data at all on trans stuff - wouldn't it be odd if we suddenly went from not a single check box to eight?


Jennifer Katherine Shields Mon 4 May 2015 6:23AM

I agree, the more precise information the better, as long as we're able to access that data and reasonably sum it down into 'x amount of our population ID as some form of transgender or may reasonably be described as transgender'. But at the same time, if Stats NZ are still concerned about confusion, having a long list of options may not be ideal right off the bat - a write-in field is always good. Additionally, the results from a write-in field in 2018 could be used to determine a list of options in future Censuses.


Kiran Foster Mon 4 May 2015 6:35AM

Perhaps a write-in as an extension to the question I proposed, I guess? “Are you or can you be reasonably described as transgender?” and then "If you ticked yes, what is your gender identity?" or similar?


Racheal McGonigal Mon 4 May 2015 8:14AM

Great conversations going. Its good.
I dont think you want to just focus using the word 'Transgender' tho. Reason being, I know people who will identify as Trans, Transsexual, Queer but they will not identify as Transgender. I believe you need a list to allow people to select 1 or more and an 'other' where they can write in. Transgender just needs to be one of the options. We need this to cover as many as possible and then users of the information can add them up, depending upon the usage.


Racheal McGonigal Mon 4 May 2015 8:22AM

As to the write in idea, I dont know too much of how each paper is worked upon but would suspect its some computer reader that is set to check if boxes are ticked. Anything written in would require a human to read it and input it into a computer. Therefore I'd suspect the more tick boxes you have, that a computer can read, the better it is.


C. H. Rose Mon 4 May 2015 12:23PM

Yeah, to clarify, I didn't mean just to straight up throw the word cis in with no explanation - my preference would be for the word to be used and then defined, as this would also further the prevalence of the term in society.

I agree that too many lists and checkboxes at this early stage might be difficult to handle - what about a question to get real statistics on how many people aren't cis in New Zealand, followed by a write-in box? Those responses could be used to form a list for the next census - then we'd know for sure what the most prevalent terms in the community are. It could be something like "Does your current lived gender identity reflect the sex you were assigned at birth?" with an "If yes go to question ##" and an "If no, please write in your current lived gender identity". Or something to that effect.

I also agree that there is no one umbrella term that all trans people are comfortable with - whatever words you use, someone will feel uncomfortable. I think framing any questions more towards "are you cis?" rather than "are you trans?" will help.


C. H. Rose Mon 4 May 2015 11:20PM

@guymarriage But when you're dealing with such a marginalised community as the trans community, isn't it more important to make us comfortable than the people with all the power? ("straights" as you put it, which is incorrect - that is applying a colloquial term for a sexuality to an entirely seperate issue. There are many straight trans people and many not straight cis people.)

Additionally, I believe that if the term was used and explained, the majority of cis people would happily identify as such. In my experience, the people who object to the term are a minority - mostly people uncomfortable with a spotlight being shown on trans issues at all.


Kabel Manga Tue 5 May 2015 12:43AM

Stepping away from the conversation a bit, just to clarify that the form is available online yah? @Lisa? I just wonder about youth or anybody else who is not out, handing a form over to family or house mates with all this information on it.


Alana (topic expert) Tue 5 May 2015 12:47AM

Hi – early on in the thread, Lisa mentioned you wanted an update on gender identity work here in SNZ. Back in July/August 2014 many people made submissions to the paper “Gender Identity: Developing a statistical standard”. The public response was great (thank you to all that took the time to make submissions). We took all submissions into consideration and they helped us develop the statistical standard for gender identity. This statistical standard is very near completion and will be released soon. This standard was developed as an Official Statistics System initiative. This means it has been developed with a particular focus for government agencies, however, it will be freely available for anybody to use.


Megan Bowra-Dean Tue 5 May 2015 1:37AM

@guymarriage What is your objection to the term "cisgender" and do you have the same objection to "heterosexual"? Cisgender is to transgender what heterosexual is to homosexual: a simple, descriptive antonym. The prefix cis- has been an antonym to trans- since Roman times. See: cisalpine vs transalpine Gaul.


Megan Bowra-Dean Tue 5 May 2015 1:47AM

@guymarriage It has been in usage for over 20 years in academia. All words have to start somewhere, heterosexual only came into widespread use ~50 years ago.

It's a bit of an odd objection considering that it's only recently that trans issues have entered the public consciousness so the lack of widespread use of cis is unsurprising.


Kabel Manga Tue 5 May 2015 1:49AM

That probably comes down to visibility. How aware of gender issues are your parents or grandparents. Its common language amongst people who talk about gender and are aware of anything different other than cis. Most people just dont know that there is a word for non gender diverse people but thats just the word for it and the appropriate term to use. its literally the heterosexual equivalent when talking about gender. It is common language in all of my work places and social settings and always has been.


Kabel Manga Tue 5 May 2015 2:06AM

@guymarriage I forgot to tag you in the above message. I in no way live in an academic world and cis is the common word in every area of my life because the people in my life actually talk about gender. Its literally the heterosexual equivalent in the gender world. It comes down to visibility. Like Megan said, its unsurprising that its not common language outside of queer and trans communities but because outside of our communities, we are invisible.


Megan Bowra-Dean Tue 5 May 2015 2:09AM

@guymarriage I would also point out that by labelling yourself "straight" or "normal", you're implicitly labelling heterosexual trans people as "not-straight" and all trans people as "abnormal". That is why cisgender exists. It's a neutral descriptive antonym.


Kay Tue 5 May 2015 2:13AM

Most teachers now use formal language when teaching children about names for body parts like penis or vagina. If only informal language is used (e.g. willy or dick, pussy or female parts) there are too many chances for confusion. Cisgender is the correct opposite to transgender and should be used, even if additional education material has to be provided like a glossary of terms.

Cisgender and transgender have the same problem as terms that heterosexual and homosexual do as being endpoints on a spectrum. What are acceptable terms for people in between these categories?


Katie Roche Tue 5 May 2015 2:14AM

@guymarriage - if this became a question in the census then maybe this is one you don't answer. We don't all have to agree and you obviously feel very strongly about this but others feel just as strongly about including gender identity.
I'm fine, and not at all insulted, identifying as a cisgender female.

It would be great to get back to how the data on gender identity (if it is collected) would be used. This is something I would be particularly interested in.


Sophie Davies Tue 5 May 2015 2:24AM

Great comment from @katieroche - definitions and classifications of gender are of interest and are part of the work which is underway as mentioned by @alana2 above. The purpose of this engagement as Katie has pointed out above is to discuss the information needs in relation to census content.


Racheal McGonigal Tue 5 May 2015 2:43AM

I use to always say I was a TS Female, until a friend of mine told me to stoo doing it. When I asked her why, she said because if I was going to keep doing it, she would need to start calling herself a natal female and not just female.
She said I was a female the same as she was.

She did not know of cis until I told her. I agree with @guymarriage, that the majority of non Trans folk I know, have no idea about cis and nor do those who do, like it being used. We as Trans whatever have no right to try and force a label upon them. Hell, we have been objecting to labels being forced upon us.

Most people use common everyday language and not the language of acedemia. Any questions in the statistics paper need to be as uncomplicated as possible and not made so people have to read screeds of preceding expliations. Therefore what is wrong with just male, female and other.
Then if other... a list of the most commonly used options and another 'other' for any that may have been missed.

I dont believe you need a definition of each of the 'others' as am sure all will have an idea of how they choose to define.
Re what is normal? Well there are no two people in the world who are exactly the same so being different is actually normal.
Also people are talking about 'heterosexual' and are clearly confused as that refers to sexuality and not gender identity.


Rowan Burnett-Jones Tue 5 May 2015 2:45AM

@guymarriage you said yourself in an earlier post that this is something that you are not day to day familiar with - so the fact that it doesn't seem common is unsurprising - because this isn't your common frame of reference. Cis is very common I see it used a lot on social media. And its not just NZ usage - there is no other decent neutral term that encompasses it, and this is used overseas as well.


Racheal McGonigal Tue 5 May 2015 2:49AM

@alana2 , thanks for your comments re “Gender Identity: Developing a statistical standard”. Alas I didnt know of this or I would have made a submission to it. What Trans/Queer groups were part of this? How was it advertised? A great many TS do not belong to groups or are not involved or represented by them.


Racheal McGonigal Tue 5 May 2015 2:55AM

@rowanburnettjones, I understand your comment. I see cis used a fair bit but amongst my TS/TG friends but not by my non TS/TG friends. I dont believe it has a high usage amongst non TS/TG or non Queer folk. A circle of friends with who we interact with does not equate to what is common in the wider world. It is becoming more used around the world for sure, but we in our TS/TG/ Q communities see it most frequently used for sure.
But we have no right to force it upon others whom we object to them forcing labels upon us.


Rowan Burnett-Jones Tue 5 May 2015 3:08AM

Once again you are getting confused - sexuality and gender isnt the same - to call people who fall within the gender binary (cis) straight is to ignore straight trans people. Straight does not equal cis. Yes I get you don't want to be labelled, yes simplify things, but don't reconfuse the issue of sexuality into this.


Alana (topic expert) Tue 5 May 2015 4:02AM

In answer to Rachel above - The intial public submission invite was posted on the SNZ website in July 2014 (along with a topic/discussion paper). We received numerous submissions from individuals, interest groups and a range of organisations (health, youth, education, business). Please rest assured we have consulted far and wide during the development of this statistical standard.


Kiran Foster Tue 5 May 2015 4:10AM

@guymarriage - you're extremely confused; gender and sexuality are not the same thing, and therefore neither are "gay" and "trans" nor "cis" and "straight". Conflating them is entirely incorrect.

Back to data - we have studies on, as others have mentioned, transgender youth, but these are limited -- while census data is not going to accurately reflect our transgender youth numbers anyway (before I left home, I was not out to my family and filled it out as the person they believed me to be), it would provide us with extremely needed data about transgender adults who are safe to identify as such on the census.

Quite aside from this information being validating and important for people who are newly coming to acknowledge or realize that they are transgender, it will be of huge significance to those of us who are campaigning for better attention to trans healthcare, for one, which is one of the most important ways in which transgender mortality is reduced significantly.

I have worked with hundreds if not thousands of trans youth, and invariably their stories involving advocating for themselves, whether to a GP, their school, or their parents, have been of isolation, of "nobody knows what this is and I feel like the only one", of "there are no standards for my care and they treat me however they like and I have to put up with this". While this is a larger problem than a census can ever solve, having solid numbers to put behind both pushes for broad change and individual efforts to be treated fairly will improve many of our lives drastically.


Megan Bowra-Dean Tue 5 May 2015 4:53AM

@guymarriage The actual statistical standard for gathering gender identity data is being developed separately from this as talked about by @alana2. Can you please stop derailing the conversation about the way the data would be used? People are being very patient with you here, despite how dismissive and disrespectful you're being of their identity.


Sophie Davies Tue 5 May 2015 5:03AM

Hi all please remember you agree to the Terms of reference when on this website. This means not engaging in personal attacks, nor making comments that aren’t nice. As I said earlier we would like to focus on the information needs :)


Racheal McGonigal Tue 5 May 2015 5:09AM

@guymarriage , while I have agreed with some of your comments, I have to agree with others in that you do seem to have a problem re the differance between sexuality and Gender. "...in the perhaps less complicated world that i live in, most of the time gender and sexuality are exactly the same thing." Sorry but in todays world that is a very old fashioned and hurtful position to be stating. Gender Identity and sexuality are not even remotely connected. ie,I am a female (legally and medically). I am attracted to men. Therefore I am heterosexual. What you seem to want to say is that because I am also Trans in someway, was a male and am now attracted to men, that I am a homosexual.
My gender identity has nothing to do with my sexuality. If anything, with what I have experienced, I am actually pansexual to be honest.
It is also unhelpful in anyway to our trying to discuss the ways this data collection can not only better outcomes for Trans/Queer folk but also help non Trans folk understand and help see we are treated fairly.


Lisa (Facilitator) Tue 5 May 2015 9:55AM

There seem to be three threads of conversations people are having:

  • how data on gender identity would be used
  • what terms would be best
  • people's personal stories

These are all great threads of discussion. I would be interested in hearing more specifically about the terms that might be used to collect information about gender identity, People have used many terms and said 'oh I would use this but not this' and others have said "oh I would never use that. I use this'. It would be great to hear what the different terms mean to people, and which they identify and don't identify with.

And PLEASE let people have their say. There aren't right or wrong answers. People don't need to agree with each other, and people can have different interpretations and understandings of the same words.

And to answer your question @kabelmanga1 about whether the census forms are available online: yes Census 2018 will be available both online and on paper form


James Tue 5 May 2015 12:23PM

@meganbowradean1 was spot on when they said "by labelling yourself “straight” or “normal”, you’re implicitly labelling heterosexual trans people as “not-straight” and all trans people as “abnormal”".

I label myself as nonbinary in the first instance, any labels beyond that are personal and I don't feel the need to share them in a public forum. But I'm just as normal as the next person. If you're refusing the label "cis" for yourself in favor of something like "normal" than yeah, what you're saying is, trans and non-binary people are /not/ normal. And sure, maybe we're not as well represented in the population as cis people, but that doesn't give you the right to implicitly call us abnormal.

Language is important. Words /mean/ things. And just because a person isn't intimately acquainted with a word, doesn't make it any less of a valid word. I'm not intimately acquainted with plenty of words - a quick flick through the dictionary will produce several words I can't use in a sentence - but that doesn't mean they're not real words. And likewise, just because certain people don't have experience with the word "cis" doesn't mean it isn't a valid word.

Long story short - if we're going to be accepting of people's experiences, we have to be accepting of /everyone's/ experiences, including the ones we might not understand. So if I call someone cis to differentiate between their experience and my own, see it for what it is, please? A simple descriptor. The antonym, as someone else said, to nonbinary.


Racheal McGonigal Tue 5 May 2015 8:31PM

@LisaAtStats, lets hope everyone can respect the right of others to have different views. I believe everyone has a right to their own views and I have a right to my own. No disrespect to others is intended in the following, merely trying to help answer your last question.
I, like most Transsexuals, believe in the binary of male and female. I accept Intersex is a term but I am not qualified to say where it should sit.
The terms male and female are totally decided by what is between your legs and determines ones sex or gender. Not gender identity.
Under the terms male, female and intersex are various gender identity terms such as the most common being Transsexual, Gender Queer, Cross dresser, etc
The terms Trans, Transgender, Queer refer usually to 'communities', collections of various types of people who are gender variant in some way with their individual choice of labels.
I will not try to put definitions to the ones that I feel arent applicable to myself. That's for others to say.
How ever I will tick 'Female' as I am legally, physically, medically recognised as that.
Alas generally I am thrown under the Transgender umbrella, but the objection to this that I and other Transsexuals have is that Transsexuals are different than most under that umbrella. Most under that umbrella believe in the spectrum. a range of genders or sex between male and female. Transsexuals believe they are either male or female, not somewhere in between.
Queer is a term that many like myself will not put ourselves under as we are, as some would describe us, old fashioned. To us the word 'Queer' means weird, different, unusual, freak etc. We aren't that.
Similarly, Trans to us is a prefix, not a word. I accept through common usage it is used as a word but what does it cover, mean? Transsexual? Transgender? Transvestite? an old radio that uses transistors? car transmission? It is too lose and generalising.
Transsexual means a person whose sex/gender has or is in the process of going from one sex/gender to the other sex/gender. I will tick that.

Hope that helps.


James Tue 5 May 2015 11:50PM

@rachealmcgonigal With all due respect, it would probably be for the best if you spoke only for yourself instead of trying to be the spokesperson for "most trans people", as you put it. I do not mean to invalidate your experience but it is just that - YOUR experience - and that does not make it indicative of any other person's experience.

Furthermore I would venture to suggest that you believe in the gender binary, because you have found a place for yourself in it. Again, your experience is valid, but is not and cannot be indicative of the experiences of any other person. Just because you believe in the gender binary doesn't make it any more true or fitting for those of us who do not fit within it.


C. H. Rose Wed 6 May 2015 12:53AM

Agreeing with @james29 on all points.

The term transsexual has nothing to do with my experience. While I of course respect the wishes of those who want to use that term, I would object to it being used as a word to describe trans experiences in any sweeping way.

Additionally, the fact that many trans people belong within the binary does not necessarily mean they don't believe in non-binary experiences - it just means (as James said) that they've found a place within it. Many binary trans people support and advocate for non-binary rights, as far as I am aware.

The issues of binary trans people and non-binary people are similar but separate - this needs to be taken into consideration with any discussion of gender identity.


James Wed 6 May 2015 1:02AM

Also at the risk of sounding inflammatory, I find the notion that "male and female are totally decided by what is between your legs" incredibly ignorant and offensive. Please note that this is not a personal attack on the person who said it, but rather my response to the words themselves.

That which exists between my legs is responsible solely for the gender I was assigned at birth, as in, the doctor slapped my butt and then took a look and declared "Congratulations James' mother, it's a [baby]".

My gender has shifted, and may continue to shift, independent of and separate to that which exists between my legs. I grew up believing I was the gender I was assigned at birth, because I did not know that I had alternative options. I now know better.

Please, do your best to assimilate what you are hearing: genitalia are not gendered. Gender has nothing to do with those primary sex characteristics which just happen to be immediately apparent to the medical professionals at birth, long before a person has had a chance to become self aware and develop the means to express themselves.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 3:19AM

@James and @ C.H.Rose.
Respectfully please re read what I wrote and the several attempts I made that I was not seeking to inflame or offend anyone. I wrote my views, opinions and comments and have no more implied that I speak for others than you and others have also done previously. I have not attacked you.
I have openly acknowledged that there are those who believe in the spectrum or Gender non binary and that they have that right to believe so. I and others also have a right to our beliefs and to express them. I have worked in several areas trying to gain acceptance, funding, recognition for Transgender people, be they Transsexual or believers in the binary or believers in the non binary.
I could easily get drawn into attacking some comments you have made but I decided not to.
Lets face it, I made the comment you choose to be offended...."The terms male and female are totally decided by what is between your legs and determines ones sex or gender".

You stated "That which exists between my legs is responsible solely for the gender I was assigned at birth,"

You seem to be getting angry at me and yet at the same time are agreeing with me.

Everyones sex or gender is decided by what is between the legs at birth.

Ones Gender Identity is different tho and that is the point.

Gender Identity is different than Sex / Gender.
Unless you have had GRS, alas medically your Gender has not shifted or changed but your Gender Identity I am sure has. And good for you.

You said "My gender has shifted, and may continue to shift," Not wishing to offend but reality is it wont unless you have GRS but yes your Gender Identity will.

I nearly flattened my GP when one day he was discussing with a collegue myself. He refered to me, a sex change female as a natal male. Alas reality is my body structure is that of a natal male and not a natal female. He totally knows and accepted me as female in all ways but to discuss what he needed to, he had to refer to me being a natal male.
Once I realised this, I settled and realised also at times we must accept reality and not desire.

My comments and intentions were not to offend you or anyone. If you have taken offence at my comments, I am sorry but there is nothing I can do about it.

Gender /Sex are totally different than Gender Identity.

@chrose I have not used the term or suggested the term Transsexual be used in any sweeping way. Transsexual is a term like Gender Queer, Cross Dresser, Androgenous etc that many choose to identify as. The generalising terms are more Trans, Transgender, Queer as they are umbrella terms that cover far more diverse and varied sectors. Some over lap at times and some dont.


James Wed 6 May 2015 3:28AM

@rachealmcgonigal "I wrote my views, opinions and comments and have no more implied that I speak for others than you and others have also done previously". It's interesting that you say that, when I can point out a number of instances where you have done just that:

  • "I, /like most Transsexuals/, believe in the binary of male and female."
  • "the objection to this that I /and other Transsexuals/ have "
  • "To /us/ the word 'Queer’ means weird, different, unusual, freak etc. /We/ aren’t that."

The issue that you and I seem to find ourselves on opposite sides of is whether or not gender is a binary/whether a gender binary exists. In the interest of "respecting all people", let me break down for you what our opposition means.

You believe there is a gender binary. I do not.
Your stance erases me. My stance does nothing more than not fit with your world view.

And with respect, during our entire back and forth, I have restricted my comments to the things you have said and refrained from pushing my opinions and experiences on your body or your gender, so I will thank you to afford me the same courtesy.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 3:44AM

@James you are seeking merely to be provokative and that isnt helpful.
You are more than welcome to believe in the non binary but please dont disrespect my rights, and that of others to believe in the binary. I have said I have spoken and worked for the betterment of both binary believers and non binary believers and yet you wish to attack me because I, and others do believe in the binary. I am happy with those who believe in the non binary but seems you arent happy if I say I believe in the binary.
Just who is seeking to erase who here?

I have mentioned words to the effect 'like many other Transsexuals' just as you and others have spoken generally about/on behalf of the Trans community. No different.

I have stated my opinion and also said I know of many who feel/believe as I do. Thats what i understand this blog to be for. Not the attacks on someone who has a differing view to your own.
Quote from yourself...

"during our entire back and forth, I have restricted my comments to the things you have said and refrained from pushing my opinions and experiences on your body or your gender,"

So please feel free to express your opinions and allow me the right to do so also.


James Wed 6 May 2015 4:19AM

Not once have I attacked you personally. My issue is, and always has been, with the things you are saying, so let us call a spade a spade here and not attribute me with behavior I do not feel I have displayed.

You ask, "Just who is seeking to erase who here?" Again, let me break down for you what I am hearing here. When you insist on a gender binary, you are /erasing my entire identity/. When you insist that male and female are the only options, you are telling me that I do not exist.

When I insist there is not a gender binary, the only harm that befalls you is that someone disagreed with you on the internet. Your identity is not erased. You are free to be who you are regardless, because both male and female are contained within my world view. My identity is not contained within your world view, which is why I find it objectionable.

To sum up: We have differing opinions, yes, but whereas mine allows for you to be exactly who you are, yours for some reason does not allow for me to be who I am. Do you see the disparity there? So to answer "just who is erasing who?", YOU are erasing ME. I am merely disagreeing with your insistence on erasing me.

I think it would behoove both of us to disengage at this point because there is a limit to how polite and respectful I can be towards people who refuse to afford me the same courtesy. Have a nice day.


C. H. Rose Wed 6 May 2015 4:21AM

@rachealmcgonigal what you seem not to realise is that by insisting that you believe only in the gender binary, you are telling all non-binary people that their identities do not exist or are irrelevant. Can you understand how this might be upsetting? It is the same as someone saying you have no right to be a woman. That is why things are getting heated - because you are attacking something vital and intrinsic to the identity and well-being of many people participating in this thread.

I don't want this to become inflammatory. Please stop saying things that imply people like myself do not exist - it is incredibly hurtful.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 5:13AM

Whoa up you two @chrose @james29

Take a step back and look at yourselves and what you are trying to do. You are not expressing your thoughts and comments but trying to defend against my thoughts and comments.

Despite my saying repeatedly that those who believe in the non binary gender spectrum, are welcome to believe as they wish several times, I am attacked by you both for expressing my views. You are trying to shut my opinion down.

@james29 "When you insist on a gender binary, you are /erasing my entire identity/." No I am not at all. I have stated you are entitled to your views and to express them. However you are not prepared to allow me to express or have mine.

I am sorry feel that way but it is entirely up to you as to how you wish to take my comments. I dont control you and nor seek to control you. In fact I have said you are welcome to express your opinions.
As much as you can claim why cant I feel and insist on this....
"When you insist on a gender non binary, you are /erasing my entire identity/."

Whats the differance please?
Do I get offended and up tight and attack you when you insist that gender is not binary, attempting to erase my believe in gender being binary?

Tell when Transsexuals talk or are talked about, it is the only sector who use 'mtf' and 'ftm'. Ever wondered why?
Because they believe in the binary and not the non binary.

You are welcome to your opinion and to express it but You need to get back onto what this blog is for and away from what ever personal dislikes of myself you may have, especially as, while I dont believe I know you, you appear to have judged me.

If you cant contain yourself to the topics and control yourself from getting "upset", then I'd suggest dont enter into the discussion.

Attacks are not welcome, I am sure.


Statistics NZ moderator Wed 6 May 2015 5:31AM

@rachealmcgonigal @james29 @chrose Statistics NZ appreciates you all as individuals and the passion and enthusiasm you bring to this discussion. Please respect each others points of view. We have a terms of reference and if we see any further disrespectful interaction we will remove it. At this point it is worth reminding people about the purpose of this engagement which is for people to discuss the important issues provided in the introduction of this topic in a safe environment.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 5:33AM

@StatisticsNZmoderator , Agreed and thank you.


James Wed 6 May 2015 5:37AM

@StatisticsNZmoderator My apologies.

We've done enough arguing. You do not want to change your way of thinking, and I do not want to concede that you have the right to an opinion that erases my identity, so let me just leave you with this.

Intent isn't magical, and let me explain to you why not. Imagine I'm walking down the street carrying a heavy load that obscures my vision somewhat, and that causes me to bump into you so you fall down and skin your knee. Now, clearly I didn't set out to push you down and cause you to skin your knee - it was an accident. I didn't /intend/ for you to be hurt. But nonetheless, hurt you are. Your knee is skinned. My intent is irrelevant to the fact that you have been hurt.

Maybe you didn't intend to bump into me (offend me with your words) but your intention is irrelevant. I have been bumped into, and skinned my knee (I am sorely offended by your insistence that my identity does not exist). Perhaps, instead of declaring loudly that you didn't mean to cause this accident, you might consider simply acknowledging that the accident took place, and apologizing for my pain - because whether you /intended/ to cause it or not, cause it you did.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 5:53AM

@StatisticsNZmoderator .


Statistics NZ moderator Wed 6 May 2015 6:14AM

We observe that the conversation has shifted in tone for the better and we acknowledge what both people bring to the conversation. We encourage some time out for some mindful reflection on each persons experience.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 6:46AM

Sorry but you allow him to appologise and then leave standing his next attack upon me. Where he is continuing to attack my believe and not expressing anything to the thread header.

The fact he is offended by my thoughts and feels I am erazing his identity is entirely up to him. I have more than repeated and demonstrated that he is welcome to have his opinon and express it, even if it negates mine.
I have endured his attacks upon me because he feels I have erazed his identity. I havent.

Please act as a moderator and remove this post and the 3 above and lets get back to what Statistics supposedly are seeking.

We all should have a right to express our opinions. If someone gets upset or feels they are having their identity erazed here, that is not reality. This is a blog to try to understand the make up of all or would you rather I go and you only get a part of the conversation and opinions?
Do you only want an input from a select sector of the Communities out there.
It is a good conversation if people can fairly contribute and dont get into personal attacks.

Please remove the offending posts.


James Wed 6 May 2015 6:50AM

Sorry, but... you can't have it both ways, @rachealmcgonigal . Either "We should all have a right to express our opinions" - in which case my posts are just as valid as your own - or we shouldn't, in which case... why exactly is your opinion on this issue and your perceived offense any more grievous than my own?

I don't want to fight. I just want to live and be allowed to live.


Kay Wed 6 May 2015 7:11AM

I echo concerns raised by @james29 and @chrose over contributions by @rachealmcgonigal skewing the discussion. Removing posts affirming the diversity in society could have the effect of only allowing one side of a discussion on a gender binary.


Kay Wed 6 May 2015 7:11AM

One of the reasons the Census should include questions on gender identity would be to provide a base line for clarifying what proportion of the population identify as other than cisgender (agree with the gender they were identified with at birth), and this may help with service planning. Some people may seek medical interventions to transition to their identified gender. Some intersex people may seek assistance to repair damage caused by doctors seeking to change their original gender identity. I understand that involuntary gender assignment procedures are still performed on intersex infants.

Some people may seek other changes e.g. gender changes on documents of identity. Better Government understanding of gender diversity within New Zealand may help government agencies plan for future service needs. Understanding diversity of gender identity is a first step. Gaining additional information on services sought would be a second one.

A valuable resource for this work is the Report of the Human Rights Commission's Inquiry into Discrimination Experienced by Transgender People
http://www.hrc.co.nz/your-rights/social-equality/our-work/inquiry-discrimination-experienced-transgender-people/ The Commission heard from a range of people including transgender, transsexual, and intersex people on their experiences and made recommendations for future action. Some action like improvements to access to documents of identity has occurred. It would be helpful to use the Census to gain an indication of progress since the inquiry.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 7:19AM

I am not trying to invalidate your opinion @james29 .
I have been trying to get you to express it rather than attack mine and my right to express it.
We were asked to stop, I did but you appologised and then took another swipe at me and my beliefs. Still never expressed your own.
Its clear you believe in the non-binary. I have expressed several times that that is ok. I am not invalidating your opinion or gender identity.
But you keep wanting to accuse me that I am. Refusing to listen to what I wrote.
You are welcome to express your opinions and beliefs. You are welcome to have them.

@kayscarlet , I am not suggesting posts affirming the diversity of the community be removed but just those where the moderators instructions were rudely ignored and the personal attack continued upon myself.
I support your second post.


James Wed 6 May 2015 8:15AM

@rachealmcgonigal All right, I'll bite. You ask for my opinions and beliefs as if I haven't been stating them ad nauseum for the entirety of my time in this conversation. My opinions and beliefs, again, are that the gender binary is a fallacy and that people who believe in and reinforce the gender binary are being dismissive towards people like me at best, and erasing us at worst.

The gender binary, so we're all clear what I'm railing against, is the notion that only two genders exist: male and female. BI-nary, bi = two, yes? Well, that is wrong. Male and female are NOT the only genders. And I can say that with absolute belief because I am neither male nor female. So if gender /were/ binary, I would be one or the other. However, magically, I am not. My very existence is proof of the fallacy of the gender binary. I don't just BELIEVE in the non-binary. I AM the non-binary. So, in that case, I guess the non-binary isn't a belief. It's a fact.

It's interesting to me that you see my comments as attacks on your person, when they are and have always been aimed at the things you've said, not you as a person. In fact I have been very careful NOT to attack you as a person because my natural inclination is to be very antagonistic toward people who are unabashedly offensive, as you have been to me, but I did not want to be excluded from what I think is a very important debate. My previous comment was a simple analogy designed to show you that I understood you had not intended to be offensive, but that I had been offended regardless. At that point it becomes your choice whether you continue to defend your behavior, or do the adult thing and apologize that your actions, however they may have been intended, have caused another human being distress.

You have continually expressed the opinion that I am "attacking you". That is not the case - because I do not think the moderators of this thread are stupid, and if I were actually attacking you as a person they would not have allowed that to stand. This is a DEBATE, Racheal, and the very point of a debate is for the two sides to express differing opinions and then to back them up with evidence, whether scholarly or anecdotal. You have not backed up your assertion that gender is binary. I, however, have backed up my assertion that gender is NOT binary - because I myself am neither male or female. Do you see how that logic works? Because I would hate for you to miss the calm and reasoned debate in the midst of crying "attack" every time I post something.

You are seeing attacks where there are none. But what you are either failing or refusing to acknowledge, is that your comments have made myself and others feel as if you see us as less than human. By your estimation, our gender does not exist. We are impossible, because we do not fit neatly into your binary boxes. THAT is why this section is so important in the census: because too many people exist who will dogmatically stick to the antiquated notion of a binary gender and refuse point blank to listen to those who have experienced something other than your narrow world view.

Mods, I apologize if at any point my tone or content has become inappropriate for this thread, but I cannot and will not stand by and let someone deny my very existence and then claim they are being attacked when I dare to assert myself. This is a free and democratic nation and I have the right to be heard.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 8:43AM

@james29 ,

Well done. I have appologised to you before if I have said anything you have taken offence at. That has never been my intention. However if you choose to take offence at something I said, well sorry but thats you and how you take it. Nothing I can do about it. I tried to go out of my way, politely, at the start and express my opinons and beliefs, which is what this blog is for. It is not as you claimed by you a place for DEBATE.

As I have repeatedly said, you are entitled to your beliefs and opinions and to express them. However so am I.
However while I was quite willing and showed I was happy for you and others to express your opinions, you mainly, and others have taken to attacking me for my expressing my beliefs. Taking supposed offence at my beliefs and claiming they have negated your Gender. Which they havent in reality as you are still the gender you are and the gender identity you wish to be. I havent altered that at all as you claim.

You said ..."This is a free and democratic nation and I have the right to be heard. "

You do.... but so you must realise do I and others.
Just because we dont think the same or agree, doesnt give either of us the right to suppress the other or to attack personally.
I could easily be making the same claims against you, that by claiming the non gender binary way is the truth and how it is, ignoring my believe, you are negating me. You are hurting myself and others like me. Shrinks dealing with Transsexuals who are happy who they are, know they are male or female, just with the wrong body parts, are being told 'well perhaps you are somewhere in between and dont need hormones or GRS'. Being denied because others are professing that gender identity is a spectrum and not binary as they believe.
That is hurting Transsexuals and I have seen it happen.

But no, I am not attacking you on your belief in the non binary gender identity. I am happy for you as you wish to identify but you must allow others to speak their opinons and stop enforcing the non binary gender way, the spectrum is the only true way and those who believe in the binary are wrong and there is no such way.

Allow other to express their voice and concentrate on expressing yours. Hopefully with less personal attack on myself.
Good luck in your journey

Stop enforcing upon others your beliefs. I have never and am not enforcing my beliefs upon you.


James Wed 6 May 2015 8:52AM

You do realize that by acknowledging that gender is not binary, you lose nothing, right? Those who deny the gender binary are saying that ALL genders are valid - including male and female. Those who deny the gender binary are not excluding, dismissing, or erasing anyone. Those who insist upon the gender binary are.

And now to get back on track and away from... whatever the hell this has been, again, I assert that conversations such as this are exactly why a section on gender identity needs to be included in the census. Awareness needs to be raised so that we as a country and a society can move forward while including all people, not just those who fit neatly into one of two boxes.

When I came out at work, I had to sit through a series of excruciatingly uncomfortable meetings wherein I had to explain these things slowly and patiently to my boss. He, at least, listened, though to begin with he didn't understand. The difference is, he was willing to listen to the experience of someone other than himself.

It is simply not good enough to shy away from including gender identity in the census because of the assumption that cisgender people will find it too confusing or won't be able to understand. Opening these lines of dialogue are the only way people WILL start to understand. How can we expect them to, if we never discuss it with them? This matter needs to be brought out of the shadows and into the public eye, because then and only then will it stop being a matter of debate and start being a fact of life. Kind of like how, once upon a time, the notion that women should be allowed to vote was unthinkable and there were people dead set against it. We moved on, as a society, and now women are free to get their vote on.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 8:54AM

So lets get back on track...

Q?a: Gender Identity:
How do you identify?

If Other, please go to b..

B/ If you identified as 'other' in a above how else would you identify? (pick all applicable)

Cross dresser?
Gender Queer?
If none applicable or something else, please write clearly...........................


James Wed 6 May 2015 8:56AM

  1. Cross dresser isn't a gender, it's a hobby.
  2. Intersex has to do with genitals, which have nothing to do with gender identity, which is what we're discussing here.

But it's not an awful start, at least. A jumping off point.


C. H. Rose Wed 6 May 2015 8:58AM

Is there anyway for us to speak to moderators directly? I looked but couldn't find anything, potentially I am just being dense.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 9:22AM

@James, you are negating Cross Dressers and Intersex.
Suggest you read the HRC report.
You are labeling Cross Dresser as a hobby? Well you sure arent judging others are you? You are being accepting of how they choose to define arent you? Not.
A heck of alot of Intersex wouldnt be happy with your judgement of them.
I, at least am not trying to label or speak for them. As you are.
Do you think I just breezed through the last 10years? We all go through alot of hardships. Good on your boss but I have listened to the arguments for ten years and I am happy for others to have their beliefs, you included.

You keep professing I have negated you but have not shown how at all other than you FEEL I have. I have given you an actual account of how I have seen the spectrum impact negatively upon those who believe in the binary. Where it cost one Transsexual her life because the shrinks put her on hold. 'Well you might just be somewhere on the spectrum' and she was placed on hold.

Sorry but it isnt just so because you say it is so.
You are welcome to have your view and opinion but you have not right to force your view upon others. Especially when it can actually do them real serious harm.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 9:24AM

@chrose Why? Why not join the conversation or do you want to have a word behind the scenes to try to influence the moderator? To cut opposing views from being expressed? Alas too often this is what a few of the Trans community have done in the past and Transsexuals have been denied a voice and forgotten. So they have walked away and arent involved or represented in any numbers in any groups.

Hence we need these questions to show how many are out there and how many are not being represented.

Joint the conversation.


James Wed 6 May 2015 9:27AM

@rachealmcgonigal you sound like a real bully in your last comment. If @chrose wants to talk to a moderator that is their right and who are you to decide who can and can not talk to a moderator should they want to? First you wanted to shut me down because you didn't like what I was saying and now you're policing the actions of other people?

Now I want to speak to a moderator.


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 9:40AM

Oh come off it @james29 , step into reality.
I stated my views/opinons.
You took exception to my expressing them and my views and opinions and attacked them.
You relentlessly persisted.
I apologised if I offended.
You continued the attack.
The Mod stepped in and you continued on with your attack.
I tried to get the thread back on track.
You keep up the attack trying to enforce one line, stiffling others.

I have done nothing but encourage you to express your opinions. I never attacked your opinions or views until you had persisted continually. Where by I gave you actual real time personal experience how I have seen the spectrum impact negative upon Transsexuals.
You ignored this as you have ignored other points I have had that were valid.

CHRose and I have had past dealings and I know how they work, like others in the TG or Trans or Queer community who go behind the back and have a second discussion behind backs and limit input from those who have a right to have a say as well.

I have never tried to stiffle your rights to inputs or anyones. Only encouraged that input.


James Wed 6 May 2015 9:44AM

I give up. I quit. You can /have/ this discussion, @rachealmcgonigal and I hope you'll be /very/ happy with it.

Mods, take note. I am now leaving this conversation because @rachealmcgonigal has made me feel invalidated, dismissed and unwelcome. I cannot in good conscience stay part of a thread where she is allowed to hold court. For my own mental health I am disengaging from anything having to do with her. Good luck with your future endeavors and I hope the census comes together well.


Kay Wed 6 May 2015 9:45AM

Many people (including @james29 ) may have limited knowledge of intersex biology and identity. According to the Intersex Awareness Trust of New Zealand, intersex is an umbrella term that has been in use for the last 60 years. It includes over 30 conditions where the sexual anatomy or the chromosomes are not the standard male or female.

  • Previously the term hermaphrodite was in common use and there is still a lot of controversy about the preferred terminology. Some professionals prefer the term Disorders of Sex Development (DSD).
    • The incidence of intersex is at least 1 in 2000 births.
  • Conditions where there are chromosomal differences from the usual 46XX or 46XY: Klinefelter’s Syndrome 47XXY, Turner’s Syndrome 45X0.
  • Conditions where there are hormonal differences: Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS). http://www.ianz.org.nz/what-is-intersex/

Some people with an intersex condition identify as intersex, some identify as male or female, and some intersex people are unaware of their situation. Medical interventions on children mean that for some people there is no external indicator of difference.


Kiran Foster Wed 6 May 2015 10:00AM

"A heck of alot of Intersex wouldnt be happy with your judgement of them.
I, at least am not trying to label or speak for them. As you are. "

@rachealmcgonigal as an intersex person who is, uh, shockingly not at all unhappy with @james29 (because, yes, being intersex is a physical thing which is not about gender identity and i would be awfully offended if somebody who wasn't medically intersex adopted it as a gender identity):

a) you are definitely trying to label us (as having "intersex" as necessarily a gender identity) and
b) do you seriously think you're not speaking for us by saying we wouldn't be happy with James's statement?


Racheal McGonigal Wed 6 May 2015 10:01AM

@james29 , Am sorry you feel such, but that is your call.
We all have a right to express our views/opinons and must accept others have a right to theirs.


Statistics NZ moderator Wed 6 May 2015 10:20AM

Our role is to moderate according to the terms of reference and to remove content at our discretion. After a warning we were glad to see the conversation between @rachealmcgonigal and @james29 reached a point of near resolution. We were saddened to see it spiral again and to see that James left the conversation. @rachealmcgonigal we would ask you to consider taking a rest and allowing some of the other voices in the thread to be heard for a while. These are sensitive and important issues for all those involved and everyone has learned from the conversation. We hope both parties re enter the conversation after a rest and engage in respectful and measured discussion without personal attacks of any kind.

We will post an update about the question of directly contacting moderators tomorrow.


C. H. Rose Wed 6 May 2015 8:11PM

@rachealmcgonigal, I have never had any interaction with you prior to this forum. I don't know who you are confusing me for, but please do not defame me when you have no idea who I am.

I, like @james29, need to disengage from this conversation for the sake of my mental health - that is what I wanted to speak to a moderator about. This will be my last comment in this thread until the situation is rectified.


Statistics NZ moderator Thu 7 May 2015 12:27AM

We encourage people to continue discussions online. It is a great opportunity for people to debate these significant issues in an open and transparent way.
However the Statistics NZ census team is always happy to engage with people and you can do so using this email: census.external.relations@stats.govt.nz.
The Statistics NZ moderator role in these discussions is to maintain a safe discussion environment by reinforcing the terms of reference. Note that there will be an addition to the terms of reference before the weekend.
The facilitator role is to support and guide the flow of discussion and encourage people to focus on the purpose of the engagement.


James Thu 7 May 2015 12:30AM

I have come back to say that I am happy to talk about my experiences and my opinions on gender identity being included in the census - with anyone but @rachealmcgonigal . Everyone else please feel free to ask me about my experiences or tell me about your own, but I refuse to engage with her.

@chrose I hope you'll come back to the discussion. We cannot let anyone push us out of discussions that will impact our futures.

(Mods, is that better?)


Statistics NZ moderator Thu 7 May 2015 12:36AM

@james29 great to have you back however please edit your comment to fit with the terms of reference as we would prefer to not remove it


Racheal McGonigal Thu 7 May 2015 12:42AM

Sorry to say this but I stepped aside as asked.
It is clear that twice now your words have been ignored.
This last time above and the person is welcomed back and asked to edit their comment?
Please remove the comment.
I am not a bigot.
I am not negating his belief any more than he is negating mine.
I apologised 2x.
I tried to get back on topic.
I have expressed several times that all have a right to express their views and beliefs but that is ALL have the right.

Sorry but there seems to be a biasis here.


James Thu 7 May 2015 12:45AM

There was an inflammatory comment here which I have voluntarily decided to remove; I am leaving this statement here so that it doesn't look as if I took the cowards route and simply deleted it without owning that I was out of line. My apologies to anyone who received it in an email notification. I will take a step back before responding again.


Statistics NZ moderator Thu 7 May 2015 12:50AM

@rachealmcgonigal moderation is at our discretion. Any more comments directed at each other in your posts will result in immediate deletion.


Lisa (Facilitator) Thu 7 May 2015 1:01AM

So to re-focus back on the discussion: Is there a need for data on gender identity?

Do people know of data about gender identity collected overseas and how it has been used?


James Thu 7 May 2015 1:10AM

@LisaAtStats I can't answer the second part of your question, but based on my own experience, I can answer the first.

There IS a need for data on gender identity. Including it in the census, this huge, most important piece of data in our society, would start the process of normalizing it and therefore halt this feeling that I and many people like me have of being Other. If you have been following the conversation you may have seen where I mentioned coming out to my boss at work. He didn't understand. Apparently, I am the first person in my entire company to request a uniform that does not match my "birth gender".

Now, he was really, really good about it in the end. To be honest with you, I don't think he really "gets it" even now, but at least he's listening to me and to what I need from him. But as I said previously, I had to go through a series of pretty excruciatingly uncomfortable meetings where I had to explain, in explicit detail, to a man almost thirty years my senior and in a position of power over me, how sex and gender were different, how gender wasn't binary...

It is my position that if gender identity is included in the census, it is a first step towards normalizing the concept that gender is not binary. That not everyone fits neatly into the male or the female box. And when that idea begins to sink into the general consciousness, then the likelihood of people like me having to go what I went through to get their needs respected is reduced dramatically.

Because I only had to convince my boss to let me wear a different uniform. Think about the people who have to talk to doctors, or school administrators, or government officials. Think about how hard it is for people to understand their own identity, only to find it impossible to explain it to others and/or have it respected.

Furthermore, let me tell you about the discrimination I've received personally. Most of it, thankfully, is really innocuous stuff. Taken as a single incident, it's nothing, but it adds up and really wears on me. I get laughter from people when they see that I'm wearing something that doesn't "correspond" with my "birth gender". I get invasive questions about my name badge, and "Oh, did you leave your badge at home and have to wear a spare one?"

No, I didn't. That's my name, this is my badge, this is my tie, and this is my life. I really encourage Statistics New Zealand to add gender identity to the census to legitimize us, one of the most overlooked and misunderstood demographics in society today, because there's powerful ignorance in the world, and it's time we took steps to rectify that.

I hope this message was helpful.


Kiran Foster Thu 7 May 2015 1:25AM

Is there a need for data on gender identity? Absolutely.

Aside from what everyone including myself has already said, I'll speak here as a person of color and a migrant: I have lived experiences of gender systems and understandings of gender that are different from the pākehā one. Many of my friends are Māori and other people of color whose gender is, similarly, something not adequately documented by the current system or recognized in any way.

Especially as this relates to Māori, I feel that there is an obligation to expand the understanding of gender and the collation of gender data in order to more accurately represent the needs of the people that this colonist state has marginalized.

I don't think the census can claim to have an accurate result if it does not account for this very fundamental way in which a lot of people of color are alienated and unable to discuss their experience of gender (which is so fundamental to our society), and I think it's very important for basically every organization which focuses on especially young people of color or queer people or otherwise marginalized groups to have this information and know how best to support the demographics they are targetting.


Rowan Burnett-Jones Thu 7 May 2015 7:28AM

I vaguely remember a conversation from when I was at uni about how the reason our queer group had such binary options in the member page even though for our group it was totally not appropriate was that the uni used those and took the lead from government forms and census forms on things like sex and gender for data.
Also for myself I feel like a greater accuracy of data in gender populations, would mean I probably wouldn't have to keep explaining my non binary identity to my therapist - my partner has had the same problem in the past. I'm also frankly sick of filling out forms marking my gender as female when thats innacurate - and that includes for a city council job I applied for.


Rowan Burnett-Jones Thu 7 May 2015 8:39AM

Also I feel like the word opinion has been used quite a lot in this thread, and I'm not entirely sure its an appropriate word here. Opinions are things we have on what we do and don't like such as food or clothing. It is not an opinion when it effectively leads to silencing people at best, or denying their existence or experiences at worst - then it starts to become hate speech. No one is invalidating some of the problems that lie within some of these terms existing together - but the harm is not caused by the terms, its how people use them. So when someone says that they have friends who were denied treatment because people said that they were in the spectrum, that's not the fault of the spectrum. It is the fault of those who misunderstand what is going on and should know better. This is why more statistics and knowledge are needed.


Racheal McGonigal Thu 7 May 2015 8:57AM

"So when someone says that they have friends who were denied treatment because people said that they were in the spectrum, that’s not the fault of the spectrum. It is the fault of those who misunderstand what is going on and should know better. This is why more statistics and knowledge are needed." @rowanburnettjones
There is alot in that statement that is on the right track, thank you and why several times I have said, I have no problem with those who believe in the spectrum, all good to them.

Not so sure I agree about the opinons as we all have opinions, right or wrong. We all need to express them but we should not get too worked up, if others opinons differ from ours.

Everyone has a right to their opinions and beliefs. Expressing opinons dont silence people. Some may take someone elses opinion in a way they feel is silencing them, but that is seldom the intention of those who expressed their own opinion.
Wouldnt it be wrong to silence some from expressing their opinion, when no harm is intended, just so others can have a stronger voice and thereby they are suppressed?

I do 'like' a part of your comment thanks.
Here is not to get further into this tho.


Rowan Burnett-Jones Thu 7 May 2015 9:13AM

To put this simply for what we are feeling about your 'opinions' if I was to say it was my opinion that transexuals didn't exist - you would feel justifyly hurt pissed off angry etc. Because you do exist you do have experiences. But I could still say it was just my opinion and you are entitliled to believe you exist etc like you have. And you have even spelled out the harms of this 'opinion' in previous posts.

That is exactly what I am getting at with the use of opinions. And it is a real harm being told that you are not belived in - my alternative to existing as a non-binary person is my previous view - that I was broken and not worth living, knowing that non-binary exists is life-saving.


Lisa (Facilitator) Thu 7 May 2015 9:23AM

Thanks @james29 and @kiranfoster for staying on topic and addressing whether there is a need for information on gender identity. Is there anyone who has not yet posted that would like to comment?


Kay Thu 7 May 2015 9:28AM

The term "opinion" may be lacking in context. I have beliefs that are based on my personal experience, and on the reported experience of friends and associates. I am also reliant on scientifically credible research and data in building a view on subjects. Maybe talking of our experience and research would be more useful in this conversation than our opinions?


Rowan Burnett-Jones Thu 7 May 2015 9:30AM

can I draw your attention back to official forms comment awhile ago, and also the conversation between Racheal and I about how the information is needed to be public to stop dangerous misinformation with medical professionals


Kay Thu 7 May 2015 9:44AM

Thanks @LisaAtStats I will encourage others to comment on their knowledge and experience of current statistical problems caused by lack of gender identity data including the basis of provision of government services to gender diverse people.

I attach a submission to the Universal Periodic Report that refers to gaps in statistics collected in New Zealand.


Kay Thu 7 May 2015 10:05AM

Official Ministry of Health advice on the basis for Gender reassignment surgery included the acknowledgement that
"Little is known about the true prevalence of gender variance in New Zealand, but both Māori and Polynesian society in general have a long history of gender variance, especially male to female. Recent research from the United Kingdom suggests a prevalence of 20 per 100,000 population, with a 4:1 ratio of MtF over FtM. Clinic populations suggest the longer the clinic is in operation, the closer the ratio of MtF:FtM is to 1:1"

Other research from Thailand suggests that up to 1 in 300 people identified as men are really trans women or gender diverse. Neither estimate is reliable enough to base health service funding on.
http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/gender-reassignment-health-services-trans-people-within-new-zealand and attached guide with explanations of terms


Racheal McGonigal Thu 7 May 2015 10:27AM

@rowanburnettjones , Perhaps you dont know me so maybe google my name please and contact me elsewhere as I'd enjoy the discussioin.
To answer simply your comment (I wont discuss it more in here) "that transexuals didn’t exist - you would feel justifyly hurt pissed off angry etc."
You need to get to actually know me as I couldnt care what your opinion is really. And that's not being awful.
You see I really do believe everyone is entitled to their opinion and if others don't agree with mine, it really doesn't matter. Thats kewl.
I know Transsexuals are real and special people. I have met and made so many friends who are Transsexual, all hugely diverse in so many ways. It hurts me to see them hurt but one more individual means little. It is the hurt from Govt depts, Employers, Teachers, Elective officials etc that hurts a bit. Hence I speak up. I dont seek to hurt others but at times a few may hurt themselves because of things I say. I cant help that alas.
I have been through a lot of bigotry, discrimination, judgements, losses etc that I have taught myself not to take offence at others passing judgements. Especially when they have never spoken to me, never had contact with me and really know nothing about me at all, in which to make a judgement about me.

Thats life. I am different. Those who know me little may tell you I am bigheaded, thick skinned, heartless etc. I definitely have a heart, but have learnt how to protect myself and that's why I am resilient and percicistent and carry on when so many tell me that after all these years of being knocked, kicked, back stabbed, I should have walked away like most others have done.
Sorry but thats not me, as I believe in Transsexuals rights and Transgender rights. The rights of all to have a belief and opinion.

Judge me as you wish.
I'll be back in the morning.

Sorry Mods, but please accept one thing I am sure we would all agree on, is having Gender, Gender identity included in the census is more important than non Trans, non Queer, non Transgender folk, non Transsexuals can ever appreciate. Is it right for you to decide for us?


Poll Created Fri 8 May 2015 4:01AM

Snapshot: what do people think? Closed Mon 11 May 2015 3:04AM

There is a clear and strong need to collect gender identity to validate the variety of gender identities.


Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 83.3% 10 K JG MB JKS AI CHR RB KF J AB
Abstain 8.3% 1 DU
Disagree 8.3% 1 RM
Block 0.0% 0  
Undecided 0% 5 SNM SD P L T

12 of 17 people have voted (70%)


Kiran Foster
Fri 8 May 2015 4:07AM

Not just validation; it is important for our wellbeing and our continued survival that we are counted so we can advocate more effectively for our needs.


Rowan Burnett-Jones
Fri 8 May 2015 5:06AM

Not just for validation but to provide us with needed statistics and highlight our existence to the rest of NZ


Jennifer Katherine Shields
Fri 8 May 2015 6:39AM

Agreed with Kiran, this isn't just about validation, it would provide a means to push for our needs and better quality - and longer - lives


Racheal McGonigal
Fri 8 May 2015 8:42AM

I dont need to validate who/what I am. Others may feel they need to, but many of us actually know who we are and so there is no need to validate ourselves.
Sorry but this question and the way it has been placed here offends.


Alison Bronwyn
Fri 8 May 2015 10:17AM

I strongly support the proposal.


Fri 8 May 2015 10:23AM

My reasons have been laid out pretty thoroughly in the debate thread on this site.


Fri 8 May 2015 10:35AM

Many government services and their funding are based on assumptions of need in the community, e.g. population based funding for health services. Without better data on the minimum levels of gender diversity service planning will be inadequate.


Jonathan Godfrey
Sun 10 May 2015 3:27AM

Much homophobic propaganda makes assertions about the numbers of non-heterosexuals in the populace. This is a means of addressing their claims in an irrefutable manner.
Also, it will inform development of mental health & Geriatric services for us


Lisa (Facilitator) Fri 8 May 2015 4:06AM

Hi everyone

A proposal has just been started, stating there is a clear and strong need to collect Gender Identity to validate the variety of gender identities. You can find it, and vote, at the top right of this page.

Proposals are being used to try and sum up the discussion and get a quick snapshot on what people's views on this issue currently are.

Proposals are not being used in the 2018 Census engagement discussion as a final decision making tool.

The proposal closes at 3pm on Monday. However the discussion stays open until the 10th of June.


Megan Pledger Fri 8 May 2015 5:06AM

What about these questions?
What sex were you assigned at birth?

M F __________
What gender do you identify with now?

M F __________
Which gender/s do you feel sexually attracted to?

M F __________

Where the underline is space available for options not stated. With the second two questions being only available for those 18+ .


Rowan Burnett-Jones Fri 8 May 2015 8:39AM

@rachealmcgonigal its not a snapchat thing - which would be extremely weird. Theres a little poll thing at the top of the page asking how many people agree with this 'snapshot' of how stats has taken this thread. Scroll up on the right is a pie chart with what the thought is a little thumbs up or thumbs down button.


Racheal McGonigal Fri 8 May 2015 8:43AM

cont/ Its taken me 30 min of thinking about. How many in the real world will actually give it 30min to think about its meaning, ramifications? How many will give it 5 min to think out how to use it?
Sorry but this is a young persons thing that negates older people.
How about educating, then using before you enforce people to use and get the wrong answers.

Sorry but this sucks.


Kiran Foster Fri 8 May 2015 8:49AM

@rachealmcgonigal This isn't even a young person's thing - this is one of the ways in which this website is a bit weird and hard to use, I think. It took me a long time, and as I've said earlier, I'm nineteen (and a computer science major to boot)!


Racheal McGonigal Fri 8 May 2015 8:51AM

@rowanburnettjones thanks but,,,,
snapchat? Snapshot?

Sorry but I dont understand it at all and am sure there are many more who will shy from it.

I cant see it serves any purpose other than people dont need to discuss, just make a comment in the snapshot thingy. Is that all they will take notice of?
numbers for or against?
Are they really not interested in the discussions?

Sorry but to introduce this now, will scare off many from commenting I have spoken to and possibly were going to comment.
Not now as they wont understand how all this works.
No explination.


Statistics NZ moderator Fri 8 May 2015 9:13AM

@rachealmcgonigal please edit one of your previous comments as it has breached our terms of reference and will be removed if the offending phrase is not removed promptly.


Racheal McGonigal Fri 8 May 2015 9:16AM

I dont wish to sound a stirrer etc or to offend but the facilatitors question to me is offencive sorry Lisa. But how much do you know and understand Trans/Transgender/Queer/ Transsexuals? But to say we need this to be included to 'validate' who we are, sorry but it shows someone who has no understanding of who we are and what we go through. In fact in away it highlights why we need to be show we are part of society as clearly you feel we need this to 'validate' who we are.
Believe me, I dont need anything or anyone to validate who/what I am. I am Racheal McGonigal, a female with boobs and a vj and can snap when I want to. Am hormonal and cycle.

Sorry but the more I think about your comment, the more offensive it is. Those who did a thumbs up really need to reconsider or ask do they really know who they are? Because a thumbs up to me, indicates they arent 100% sure.
I am furious as I feel the comment is a put down on myself and other TS who know who they are, dont seek to be 'validated' by anyone but do want the numbers collected so we can fight for an equal place and representation. Fight for equal healthcare services, employment oportunities, benefits and more.
But statistics cant validate someone who is already who they are and know who they are.
That statement is a put down and discrimination.
Please respect who we are - human beings and citizens of NZ.


Tom (facilitator) Fri 8 May 2015 9:31AM

Hi @rachealmcgonigal sorry to hear that your having trouble with the proposal. Thanks everyone for providing support. You can find a guide of how to use proposals here. Our intention is not to exclude people from the conversation, quite the opposite, proposals are a way of not only checking where everyone is at with their thinking but drawing more people into the discussion.

No offence was intended. We have used validate in a statistically technical way. What was meant was more along the lines of counted and recognised. We cannot edit the proposal once voting has started.


Racheal McGonigal Fri 8 May 2015 9:47AM

val·i·date (văl′ĭ-dāt′)
tr.v. val·i·dat·ed, val·i·dat·ing, val·i·dates
1. To establish the soundness, accuracy, or legitimacy of: validate the test results; validate a concern. See Synonyms at confirm.
2. To declare or make legally valid: validate an election.
3. To mark with an indication of official sanction:

I can see how you use it to claim you seek to validate what you wish to but the wording could have been better.
I still stand by my comments, That many do not have a clue what this 'snap whatever' is about and to just throw it in, is not right. Many wont know what its about as it is not explained.

As to how it breaches the terms, please how does it breach and I will edit.

I still profess, I an many I knoiw do not need any question in a census for to validate who/what we are and it is offensive to ask/imply we do.

@StatisticsNZmoderator please what term? Where do I find these, specifically the one?


Racheal McGonigal Fri 8 May 2015 9:50AM

I am sure I shall just be removed alas.
Not my desire at all.
I have no wish to offend anyone but cant see how I have.
please explain.


Racheal McGonigal Fri 8 May 2015 10:02AM

Sorry but I am likely out of this discussion as it is too complicated and therefore limiting. It therefore cant be shown and used as representative. When bits are thrown in, no explination and people, especially older, less technology minded are expected to understand as if it is a norm.
I am way more tech savy then alot my age, but this confuses me sorry.

Again, My comments were not meant to offend but I am offended. I dont need to be validated in any way.

Good luck but you arent being representative in my opinion sorry.


Alison Bronwyn Fri 8 May 2015 10:17AM

For all the good reasons already raised we must be counted in the 2018 census, otherwise it will be 2023 before the next opportunity arises and we will remain bureaucratically invisible for another 8 years with all the attendant issues remaining. Where we need to put our energy and assist Statistics NZ is how to best frame the question(s) that go into the census so as to be inclusive as possible and provide Stats NZ with a clear signal of the size of the transgendered community. I don't have a clear idea of how best to frame this question but it will need to be relatively simple and straight forward otherwise I'm concerned it will be rejected as being too complicated.


James Fri 8 May 2015 10:29AM

Also at the risk of sounding inflammatory... I'm pretty sure "Hey, here's what we propose, click this button if you agree and these others if you don't/feel otherwise" isn't an overly taxing proposition. The recent spate of comments slagging off the mods and the way in which they are gathering information is really unacceptable, as is the tanty thrown when the conversation didn't go the way some people wanted.

Mods, if it helps you at all, a) I'm smart enough to click a button, as are most of the other people participating in this thread, and b) I'm sure you didn't choose this site or this method of data gathering for your own fun and frolics, but rather you are acting on orders of your own bosses? So let me just say thank you for the work you are doing, that you are letting us have this conversation at all, and assure you that not all of us share the negative views about you.


Rowan Burnett-Jones Fri 8 May 2015 10:46AM

I suddenly feel like people have gone technology is witchcraft and should be burnt at the stake - it would have been much simpler to ask what it was then throwing a hissy, and age has nothing to do with it - my father is 62 and would have managed, and my 80something year old grandfather taught me how to use skype. Yelling about something you don't understand doesn't help I've taught 5 year olds with better problem solving skills then that. Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it's evil.

Also validity in statistical terms tends to lean more towards backed up by numbers and fact - if something is statisically valid it has the numbers to back a statement up - which is what we want.


Tom (facilitator) Fri 8 May 2015 10:52AM

Just to clarify, proposals are not primarily a way of gathering data. They are, we hope, a valuable tool for enriching discussion. What is of real value to us is understanding why you pressed the button you did and the nuances of the discussion it promotes. It is also a way of encouraging people who might otherwise be stay silent into the conversation.


C. H. Rose Fri 8 May 2015 10:56AM

I strongly agree with what every person pro this proposal has said, especially @alisonbronwyn's comment about how our energy should be directed at how to phrase this question in a way that could be incorporated into the census.


C. H. Rose Fri 8 May 2015 11:00AM

I also approve of the use of the word "validate" in the snapshot as to me that is exactly what is needed - legal validation of different gender identities so that we can begin to receive support and understanding from governmental, medical, educational and other institutions.


Kay Fri 8 May 2015 11:08AM

Q for facilitators @LisaAtStats or @Tom_at_stats Have the poll and its choices been checked for accessibility or readability ? Some of my vision impaired and blind friends use software readers that are OK with text but which don't read images.


Tom (facilitator) Fri 8 May 2015 11:20AM

@kayscarlet I'm not sure. We will look into and report back what we find. Since this is out of work hours we may not be able to find out until Monday.


Kay Fri 8 May 2015 11:35AM

Thank you. Where images are used it may be helpful to have a one line description under each image for people who would otherwise not be able to hear what the image is.


Tom (facilitator) Mon 11 May 2015 3:47AM

Hi @kayscarlet I've been in touch with the Loomio team and they will be back to me with a answer to your question soon. Thanks for being patient.


Lisa (Facilitator) Mon 11 May 2015 4:04AM

As the proposal has showed, most people agreed that there is a clear and strong need to collect gender identity to validate the variety of gender identities. The comments people made with their votes also indicate that people think it is more than just validation.

@kayscarlet has specifically mentioned health services (thanks also for those other great links you posted before the proposal). What other specific examples do people have about how data about gender identity may help?

Your best opportunity to influence census content is to make a submission (this process opens on May 18th). This discussion can be a valuable tool to write a strong submission (e.g. expanding your knowledge of how the data can help, reading and referencing the research and papers other people are providing).


Lisa (Facilitator) Mon 11 May 2015 4:18AM

Welcome to @meganpledger @alisonbronwyn @johnsmart @jonathangodfrey. Looking forward to hearing more from you all.


Tom (facilitator) Mon 11 May 2015 5:10AM

Hi @kayscarlet. I've contacted the Loomio team. Their response was that screenreaders are compatible with Loomio, however since Loomio is still under development the usability is not as straightforward as it could be. If anyone using a screenreader needs assistance they can contact Richard, who leads Loomio's accessibility project, at rich@loomio.org.


Sally Dellow Mon 11 May 2015 6:52AM

There is data already available on the prevalence of transgender and gender diverse identities in New Zealand. See here: http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(13)00753-2/abstract?cc=y= the issue is this data is two-three orders of magnitude different to the transgender prevalence data that was given in DSM 3 and DSM 4. The irony is if the prevalence data in the DSM manuals is used the provision made for trans surgery under the high cost treatment pool would have been sufficient to meet the need but instead of 160 transgender people in NZ the Youth 12 survey suggests the true number is in excess of 50,000. Healthcare by lottery?

I attended the Stats NZ interview wrt gender identity and part of the information provided to me for that included a proposal (from the UK I think) that looked to acquire the required information on identity (that was sensitive not just to transgender but intersex and non-binary gender identities as well). The proposed questions covered five pages.

If the diverse range of answers given for the Youth 12 survey is also considered then question or two in the census is unlikely to provide the high-quality information required by bureaucrats to justify changes in spending priorities.

The wording of the transgender questions in the Youth 12 survey may provide a shorter version (included options of 'I don't know' and 'I don't understand the question'

If the percentage of respondents who stated they were transgender or unsure of their gender identity (I don't know) is considered (4%) then there is one child in every classroom in NZ who is potentially transgender, intersex or has a non-binary gender identity. Our health system has almost no provision for their health needs, medical (endocrinology), surgery or mental health.

There is a clear need for accurate high-quality information about the prevalence of transgender, intersex and non-binary gender identities in NZ. I don't believe the census can deliver this information. What the census can deliver is to highlight the need for this information to be collected by Statistics NZ independent of the census.


Michelle Smeaton Mon 11 May 2015 7:14AM

@sallydellow - I agree that the census only needs to produce broad data on sexual and gender identity for the information to be useful for our communities. Once we have some concrete idea of our numbers then we can lobby for a more sophisticated investigation.
In the meantime it will have produced sufficient data to allow us to pressure government agencies and departments for change.


Kay Mon 11 May 2015 8:23AM

Thanks @SallyDellow The Youth 2012 research is very relevant as base data, http://www.hiirc.org.nz/page/41071 and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1054139X13007532 This data also feeds into the need for service and facility delivery planning for schools @LisaAtStats . Trans* and gender nonconforming students are more vulnerable to bullying than their cisgender peers. Some support like respect and consistent use of preferred names and gender pronouns are more likely to be delivered by teachers, staff and other students if resources and training or professional development are funded and provided. Other support like gender neutral bathrooms for those who want them, or would feel safer using them, will cost money. Statistically supported data would help the Ministry of Education plan for capital work needed.


Michelle Smeaton Mon 11 May 2015 10:01PM

Thanks Kay. Very relevant for us. :)


Kim Ollivier Tue 12 May 2015 2:12AM

The police incident form that I saw (as an analyst) had 6 (six) different categories. Perhaps just use those to make the crime statistics analysis the same. They may be able to help with the experience they have in filling in gender questions.


Lisa (Facilitator) Fri 15 May 2015 5:07AM

This is great to get more discussion around need. Health and education have been identified. Are there other areas where this data could help?

Establishing a clear need for data that would be utilised by a wide range of decision makers is one of the critical criteria for the Content Determination Framework. This framework will be used to make final decisions on content for Census 2018.


Kay Fri 15 May 2015 11:12AM

Residential facilities may benefit from gender identity data. For example, making sure there are safe corrections facilities for appropriate housing of trans and intersex and genderqueer inmates. Government policy is changing to recognition of housing trans women inmates in corrections facilities of their identified gender but I understand this currently applies to post transitioning/ post operative trans women only. If human rights recommendations are picked up then self identification may be sufficient.

Given the high rates of sexual violence against trans women in men's prisons, better data on numbers and implications for housing are needed. Corrections policy of doubling up on cells may not be safe if a trans woman is housed with someone other than another trans woman. Housing trans women with cisgender women may be appropriate but there may also be fears of safety issues.

All inmates should have the right to safety and freedom from fear of assault in a corrections facility (or police holding cell etc). The issue of appropriate policies, facilities and training applies to people of different sexual orientation and youth also. With the Government switching to private prison providers for Corrections facilities, there will be a greater need for transparent policies and monitoring of compliance.


C. H. Rose Sat 16 May 2015 2:54PM

Showing a clear presence of people who do not clearly fit into the binary would hopefully eventually lead to wider changes -- things like public bathrooms/changing rooms, sports teams, military service, social groups like Girl Guides, sex education in schools (I know education was mentioned, but I feel like sex/health education needs a specific highlight -- especially when it comes to public knowledge about intersex conditions). These and many others are all areas which are segregated according to the binary, leaving those of us who do not fit unable to participate. These issues have varied and wide-reaching ramifications, from shutingt us out of activities that may improve our quality of life to actively traumatising or erasing us.


Lisa (Facilitator) Thu 21 May 2015 4:19AM

Statistics New Zealand has household surveys such as The General Social Survey which is a well-being survey. Would it be useful to collect data on gender identity in such a survey? In what ways would it be more or less useful than collecting data through the Census?


Kay Thu 21 May 2015 8:16AM

Additional surveys could be useful as an awareness raising reinforcement. The Social Survey and the Health Survey would be helpful in identifying trends and impacts of particular actions, e.g. the closure of Auckland District Health Board's trans health clinic. Suicide rates for trans people are only useful if gender identity is known and recorded. This may be an underestimate as people who don't have medical or social support may be less likely to openly self identify as trans.


Racheal McGonigal Thu 21 May 2015 8:39AM

@kayscarlet fyi, the ADHB's ASH clinic has not closed. It is still going but at this time not taking on new patients. It is still very much working and there have been some new ones taken on. However it is going through a reorgainisation and better is coming.

That said Statistic NZ data would be really helpful in this but......they dont have any as they have never collected it.
Hopefully they will.


Kay Thu 21 May 2015 11:12AM

Thanks for the update @rachealmcgonigal The news coverage said it was closing and I'm not sure if there has been public news about it continuing. That's one way to reduce demand. Good statistics would help health services plan to meet community needs.


Duncan Matthews Fri 29 May 2015 4:50AM

Kia ora,

Apologies that I'm not able to read all submissions before responding myself - but kia ora to all those who have contributed to this discussion!

A key thing that prevents organisations that are supporting gender diverse communities (RainbowYOUTH, Agender, Genderbridge, OUTLine, to name but a few) is a lack of nationally representative data on the gender identity of New Zealanders.

We have some nationally representative data from the Youth '12 report - where young people where asked the question 'Are you Transgender?'. This provides some information, such as 1.2% of high school students self identify as Transgender. But does not provide a broader picture of the gender diverse community across all ages, and 'Transgender' may not be a term that all gender diverse people identify with.

Government organisations, such as DHB's, because of a lack of data around gender diverse people do not allocate funding to services for gender diverse people, and DHB's that are being progressive in attempting to provide services for gender diverse people struggle to determine the demand for the service they will receive.

In short, until we collect data around gender identity, these populations will continue to remain invisible and not receive the services and support needed.



Lisa (Facilitator) Thu 11 Jun 2015 1:22AM

What topics in the Census (see sub-groups on the right, or for more detail the Preliminary View) would be of interest to break down by Gender Identity?


Michelle Smeaton Thu 11 Jun 2015 10:00PM

Thanks Kay - I agree with your suggestions. In addition such statistics could support the case for the provision of gender neutral uniforms as recently suggested by the Min Education. This would allow Trans or gender questioning students the option of exploring their gender presentation without having to fully present as the opposite gender.


Kay Fri 12 Jun 2015 5:50AM

Cross posted from Sexual orientation - more applicable here

Workplace productivity research shows that where people feel marginalised or bullied that their productivity is reduced. Many corporates are considering signing up to diversity programmes like the Rainbow Tick or getting a copy of the NZ Standard for Rainbow Diversity. Employers don’t just do this to be nice. They want the best outcomes for their company and this may include health and well-being of staff. More information about who New Zealanders are - as workers, customers, and students - will help ensure their needs are considered and appropriate policies adopted.

Does a workplace family picnic include same sex couples? Are same sex couples with children welcome at the local school? Will a parent who is transitioning be treated with respect at parent teacher evening? What about a transgender teacher at a parent teacher evening?

Showing there are more than straight and cisgender people in the world, and having an idea about that diversity, will help central and local government plan services, support and information. For example, LGBTIQ people are more vulnerable to being on the receiving end of violence than straight and cisgender people but the number of trained Diversity Liaison Officers in the police force is inadequate to ensure sensitive and appropriate support to LGBTIQ victims of crime. Better data about population groups may help justify additional professional development and support. Mind you, I also think the same about more women in the police force for similar reasons.

At some future time if prejudice against people of different sexual orientations and different gender identities disappears, then the questions could be reviewed. For now there is a need for information.


Lisa (Facilitator) Fri 19 Jun 2015 3:52AM

Loomio discussions AND the submissions close on the 30th June.

There has been some high quality discussion in this thread and I strongly encourage you to make a formal submission.

While all the discussions on Loomio will be formally assessed, your best opportunity to influence census content is to make a submission.


Lisa (Facilitator) Mon 29 Jun 2015 10:01PM

It's all closing today - Loomio discussions and the submissions.

So there is still time to make a formal submission or put down your last thoughts here.

Thanks for all your contributions. Gender identity has had the most comments, and I think the most personal stories (and certainly the most heated!). Thanks for sharing those stories, experiences and opinions.