Canada will recognize the third gender in governmental surveys

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Canada will now recognize third gender options and let people self-identify on government surveys, forms and censuses. Alongside traditional male and female fields in the gender category there will be an extra empty field for respondents to describe their identity. This move has been welcomed by transgender rights activists, as not all trans people have IDs matching their gender identity and there are also non-binary people, to whom traditional M and F are not applied. According to Laurent Martel, the director of demography at Statistics Canada, the changes to the surveys are the result of many years of hard work. While the previous census, conducted in 2016, invited trans respondents to identify with the gender they “most associate themselves,” the only options provided were male or female, non-binary Canadians were left aside. As well as allowing respondents to self-identify with the descriptive third gender box, the changes are also matched with similar changes within Statistics Canada, who now include a “gender diverse” category in their analysis. While welcoming the changes to the surveys, activists also highlighted the importance of educating the public about the whole spectrum of gender.

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