Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

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Everyone is entitled to live free from prejudice and discrimination

“People of all sexual orientations and gender identities are entitled to the full enjoyment of all human rights” – The Yogyakarta Principles

The Yogyakarta Principles set out the international human rights standards that all countries must meet to uphold the human rights of sexual and gender minorities.

All people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have the same rights and freedoms. All sexual and gender minorities in New Zealand have these human rights, whichever word they use to describe their sexual orientation or gender identity.

These include, for example, people who identify as: takataapui, lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, transsexual, transgender, whakawahine, tangata ira tane, mahu (Tahiti and Hawaii), vakasalewalewa (Fiji), palopa (Papua New Guinea), fa’afafine, (Samoa, America Samoa and Tokelau) akava’ine (Cook Islands), fakaleiti or leiti (the Kingdom of Tonga) or fakafifine (Niue island).

The Human Rights Commission recognises and values this diversity of identities and communities and acknowledges the difficulty encompassing this diversity under any single umbrella term. Some intersex people, for example, may prefer to use the words ‘sex or bodily diversity’ – while others may simply wish to be known as male or female.

It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone in New Zealand because of their sexual orientation or sex/gender identity within areas of life covered by the Human Rights Act 1993. These include applying for a job, at work, in education and health care in government agencies’ policies and practice and when you buy things or pay for services. Contact our complaints service if you think this may have happened to you.

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Statistics NZ wants feedback on collecting gender identity data – by 1 August

Currently there is no agreed definition for collecting  gender identity data, either in New Zealand or internationally. Statistics New Zealand has developed a proposed gender identity definition, in consultation with central government agencies and with advice from the Human Rights Commission.

Statistics NZ wants your feedback, to ensure the concept of gender identity is adequately covered and easily understood.

The agreed concept and other definitions will form part of a statistical standard for gender identity. This will include standard question modules for collecting gender identity data.

Measuring and using gender identity data will improve understanding about the diversity of our population. The Human Rights Commission has found that recognising diversity reduces discrimination and inequality, which is a good thing for all New Zealanders. So have your say.

To read more about this project and provide your comments go to

The deadline for comments is Friday 1st August. If you have any questions, please email Statistics NZ on

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