New Zealand’s 2023 Census is a dog (no disrespect to dogs)
New Zealand’s 2023 Census is hellbent on prioritising the concept of gender over biological sex. If the Q&A going on around that is any indication, this census has all the hallmarks of being a dog’s breakfast.
In this census, Stats NZ will consider the information they collect on gender as more important than the information they collect on what biological sex we are. In their Final Content Report about gender (pg14) and sex (pg16), they state that “Gender will be collected in the 2023 Census and will be the primary demographic variable that we will produce information on. This replaces the previous use of the sex variable, and output data will use gender by default.”
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So, gender, which is a fluid and unstable concept, is now considered more valuable information to collect than a stable material reality like sex. Stats NZ even state that gender is changeable: “A person’s gender may change over a lifetime”. But to be fair to Stats NZ, they also say that “a person’s sex can change over the course of their lifetime and may differ from their sex recorded at birth.” There has never been a recorded instance of a person’s sex – which is biologically set in stone - changing over the course of their lifetime, but why let the truth stand in the way of a good story, eh?
Stats NZ have basically decided to force everyone to answer the gender question. If it’s not answered in a ‘coded’ manner – i.e. satisfactory manner - according to criteria they’ve devised, it will be answered for you. In the event the gender question is duly answered, but not the sex question, this is the answer one person received when they asked about that scenario in regards to a man who says he’s a woman: “In the scenario where a gender response is given, and there is no sex at birth response given, the person’s gender is considered female. However we will not produce the cis-gender/transgender status derivation for any person from whom we did not receive census responses for both gender and sex at birth”. Clear as mud at first reading for the uninitiated into government gobbledygook-speak.
(I’ll just insert a note here that in September 2022, New Zealand’s parliament passed a plain language bill. Just saying.)
As far as I can make out, marking the box ‘other gender’ as one’s answer, and writing the word ‘none’ as a further description, is considered a satisfactory answer by Stats NZ. So, a ‘none’ gender will be considered another gender. Confirmation has been received that the census will recognise three categories of gender – male, female, and other gender. And we’re supposed to take this seriously? How we answer the census questions is our business, but for those who object to the gender question, ‘none’ is still a disruptive answer, but the online form doesn’t appear to have the option of adding that. Paper forms do, and can be requested from Request paper forms - Census NZ
If you don’t want to answer the question about gender at all, here is one answer from Stats NZ’s to that conundrum -
If you can make out what it means to be told that if a person doesn’t want to answer the gender question, then just answer the gender question, well done you.
Back in July 2020, I made a submission to Stats NZ about their proposed changes for collecting data on sex and gender¹. Although, I was a novice at doing this, it still stood out like dog’s bollocks that the impartial ‘topic experts’ team was loaded with those biased towards gender ideology. I believe that this 2023 census confirms the observation I made about that 100%.
Gender ideology is simply not a stable concept, but there’s no reason why it can’t be collected in the same manner that religion is to give a snapshot of how we’re socially evolving. However, I’m taking a punt that at least some of the reason for collecting data on gender is about justifying spending money on gender ideology. Unlike religion, entrenching it is costly for the public purse. Collecting data on gender as a default in the census could create the justification needed to allocate ever-increasing amounts of resources to it in its various forms. If anyone can make sense of the data collected, that is – but I expect that our government’s gobbedlygook experts may find a way to deal with a small inconvenience like that.
I deem it wrong of our government to force us to answer a question about a feeling we do or don’t have, or how we present ourselves to the world. I certainly don’t see it as an innocent good faith question. Conspiracy theorists used to be other people in my world, then along came gender ideology and that changed everything.
More on the 2023 Census from Speak Up for Women NZ Do we really count? (speakupforwomen.nz)
¹My submission to Stats NZ in July 2020:
Sex and gender identity statistical standards: Submission.
Dear Statistics New Zealand, thank you for inviting feedback on the proposed changes for collecting data on sex and gender identity.
The points that I wish to make, from the information as I understood it on your website about this issue, are –
• The topic experts
• Conflating of sex and gender
• International best practice
The topic experts
There is not one person in the list provided who can counter-balance the views of the topic experts. This list appears to be weighted in favour of Stats NZ achieving a pre-desired outcome. The topic experts are just that – experts in a specific and narrow topic, and not experts on wider social issues. There is no impartial person on this list, as they all have a personal or professional interest in transgenderism or intersexuality.
Out of the 13 names on the “impartial experts” list, a term used in your Terms of Reference, five also contributed to the Human Rights Commission SOGIESC report, titled PRISM, including Taine Polkinghorne who facilitated and wrote the report. Taine is not in a position to provide “expert impartial advice”, as words relating to transgenderism appeared eight times more in the SOGIESC report than the words ‘lesbian’ or ‘gay’, which were the next most mentioned sexually diverse group. Lesbian and gay people number more than transgender people, but were mentioned eight times less than transgender people. From what I can see, some of those on the list are simply interested parties with a personal investment in the issue, not experts, and most definitely not impartial.
The team on your list needs to have more socially diverse representation than it currently has, in order to give confidence that the outcome achieved was not arrived at by a biased team. I suggest contacting Speak Up For Women NZ – firstname.lastname@example.org - for this, as I can’t think of any other women’s group who will be able to, or dare to, provide advice from a different “community perspective” than those on the list. Any decisions made only on the advice of those on the list will not be impartial nor weighed up with enough different perspectives to reach a balanced recommendation.
There is language used in the Stats NZ website, and proposed language to be used on the census form, that is not commonly used by the majority of New Zealanders. Most people will not know what ‘cis’ means, and will puzzle over the term “assigned female/male at birth” for example. Language is always evolving, but there are words and terms being used that have not evolved into common usage. Why is Stats NZ using uncommon language that won’t be clear to most New Zealanders, and will therefore need to provide notes on the census form to educate them to their meaning, when absolute clarity is vital? Are you sure that a clear enough explanation can be provided for those who have never before encountered the terms and words used to have immediate comprehension?
Conflating of sex and gender
Sex is a biological reality, and gender is mutable – not the other way round. Stats NZ seems determined to conflate these two in order to appease a very small minority group, rather than use consistent and clear definitions according to scientific and legal best practices, and so avoid confusion for the majority of New Zealanders. Would Stats NZ use words and terms from any other minority group that are not in common usage, and for which the majority of New Zealanders wouldn’t be clear about their exact meaning? Using gender as the default question about a person’s sex is basically a question asking about a person’s feelings. Does Stats NZ want to collect robust and reliable data that any industry can use with confidence, or collect data about feelings? And does Stats NZ believe that a question asking about how a person identifies is not asking for a plethora of ridiculous and useless answers? I realise that sexually diverse people deserve to be counted just like anyone else, but I’m not sure how this can be done in a way that is clear, concise, gives solid and usable data, and is not open to being mis-answered. This needs more consultation by a more diverse group than is on your list of named experts.
International best practice
Stats NZ have used Canada as guide to their proposed changes on swapping out the category of sex for gender, citing Canada as “international best practice”. I would like to know how Stats NZ established that Canada was “international best practice”? Who exactly proposed Canada as an example of international best practice? What research has been done to back up that claim? Canada has been an early adopter of gender identity policies as submitted by gender identity activists, that much is true, but it is not creating the desired inclusivity at all. It is creating huge social rifts between those who are on board with swapping out sex for gender and gender self-ID, and those who are not (even if they are forced to fake their compliance in order to keep their jobs). Normally, when social changes are imposed on society for the benefit of equality, some people may grumble a bit at first and then accept the changes. Others may never accept them, but keep their opinions in the group to which they belong. However, neither of these is happening this time - these rifts are getting bigger and bigger, and not easing off as was probably expected. Is Stats NZ prepared to be instrumental in creating the same social rifts here in New Zealand as Canada is experiencing? Stats NZ needs to look at more countries than just Canada to ascertain that they really have established international best practice.
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