'We feel we're being listened to' - Rainbow community on inclusion of gender ID questions in Census

Imogen Wells
Source: 1News

New Zealand’s Rainbow community feels like they are finally being represented after Statistics New Zealand confirmed sexual orientation and gender identity questions will be asked in the 2023 Census. 

The move has been called for in recent years by advocates within and for the Rainbow community, and Wellington Pride Co-Chair Vivian Lyngdoh said the confirmation is a huge win.

"When I heard about it, it was like 'yes, finally'. We’re seeing ourselves, we’re being represented.”

Minister for Statistics James Shaw said it was really important these questions be added to the country’s next Census, after failing to do so at the last one in 2018. 

“One of the first things I did when we came into government was to ask Stats NZ to prioritise making sure we had standards around all of these, that meant we couldn’t get them into the 2018 Census because it was too late, but we can get them in for 2023.”

1 NEWS understands this was committed to by Stats NZ a few months ago.

However, Monday was the first official confirmation by New Zealand's official data agency.

It comes following a recent Human Rights Commission report which found New Zealand’s data collection processes fail to accurately count the country’s Rainbow community members. 

The report also said the country’s Rainbow community members are continually discriminated against in areas such as education and health.

Mr Lyngdoh said the new questions will mean more targeted funding for Rainbow communities.

“We can identify location and size and we can then allocate funds to those spaces.”

Mr Shaw agrees the updated questions will have a knock-on effect, particularly within the health sector. 

“I think it’s really important that we gather that data to make sure we are able to serve people in those communities.”

The framework for the questions has yet to be decided.

Public consultation for the review of statistical standards for sexual orientation and gender identity will begin July 2.