The “other” alternative

In today’s Guardian, it’s reported that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has caught up with the rest of us, and separated gender from sex in the new Census.

The 2016 standard for sex and gender variables, released on 2 February, allows respondents to identify their biological sex and their gender identity as either male, female or “other”.

However, what looks like a small step forward for equality is anything but. Apparently you’ll have to still choose from “Male” or “Female” unless you explicitly contact them.

The ABS spokeswoman told Guardian Australia those who wished to identify as “other” would be required to contact the census inquiry service to receive either a special login to do so online or instructions for how to fill in the paper form.

This seems backward on two levels. The first is that it could easily just be printed on the form, and it’s DEFINITELY easy to add a field to an online form, and second, how exactly will one receive the special login and/or online instructions? If it’s by email then the whole point of an anonymous census goes right out the window.

So it’s 4/5 for making the change official, but 1/5 for making it accessible. Methinks this is ripe for a protest from the trans and genderqueer community?

Read more on The Guardian

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