Canada will soon be adding a third gender option onto official government surveys, suggesting that widespread recognition of gender beyond the binary of “male” and “female” may be closer than we think.
As The Guardian reports, these surveys will be used for data collection, including the Canadian 2021 Census. Moving forward, participants will be able to choose from three gender options, directly addressing feedback from the 2016 Census that the gender options were limiting.
Longtime transgender rights advocate Susan Gapka is ecstatic about the news. She, along with others, participated in various consultations with Statistics Canada to make this a reality. “This is really delightful news,” she told The Guardian. “I was pleased with the discussions we had and it’s great to see they’re following up on this strategy.”
This also follows news of Ontario issuing its first non-binary birth certificate last week.
But Canada isn’t the first country to allow respondents to choose to identify with genders beyond male and female. Nepal, India, and Pakistan recognize other genders on official government documents. Meanwhile, the United States lags.