The 2016 standard for sex and gender variables, which was released on February 2, allowed respondents of Australia Bureau of Statistics surveys including census to identify their sex and gender as “other.”
However, the process wouldn’t be as simple as it seems. There will be only two options, male and female, in both the print and online versions of the 2106 census. If a respondent wishes to identify their sex or gender as ‘other,’ they will be required to contact the census inquiry service for a special login or for information on how it should be done, the Guardian reported. Respondents who select the third category could be asked to specify their sex and gender further.
“The terms “sex” and “gender” are often used interchangeably within the general community,” the ABS said in a statement. “However, although highly related, sex and gender are distinct concepts. By bringing these two concepts together into a single standard, it is possible to explain the relationship between them and provide context for their appropriate use. In practice, it is expected that most users will need to collect only one of sex or gender to meet their statistical needs.”
The respondents who will be choosing the “other” sex has been defined by ABS as, “persons who have mixed or non-binary biological characteristics (if known), or a non-binary sex assigned at birth.”
The report by ABS is expected to be released in mid-2017 with the number of Australians who reported as the “other” sex and other census information.
The new standard replaced the rules issued in 1999, which allowed the respondents to select “intersex or intermediaries” but did not identify between gender and sex.
“A small number of respondents have been requesting the opportunity to report other than male/female on ABS household surveys,” the Guardian quoted an ABS spokesperson as saying. The new standard is expected to enable more efficient collection of their sex.