Non-binary Kiwis welcome move to make internet more inclusive - 1News .

Html Coding



This Pride Month a new initiative co-created by Spark and OutLine Aotearoa aims to shine a light on non-binary communities.

Rainbow flag.

Most of the internet sees only two genders, leaving some communities in the dark - an issue Spark's Beyond Binary Code aims to address.

The online tool generates HTML code to help businesses evaluate whether gender-related data needs to be captured, and if it is how they might do it.

Put simply, the code provides businesses with a trusted source to improve their gender data collection practices and create a more inclusive online environment.

Non-binary is a term for gender identities that are neither male nor female. A recent gender data survey found more than 84% of non-binary respondents felt often or always misrepresented while sharing gender information online.

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It's a statistic Quack, a non-binary takatāpui creative and advocate for rainbow communities, knows all too well.

"I've often been asked why I feel like I need a checkbox that I can identify with. And it's not so much that the checkbox is going to be the make or break of my identity - my identity is a lot stronger than that, but the constant reminder of feeling like you don't have a place, like there isn't an option for you to select, makes me feel whakamā (embarrassment)."

It's a sentiment Spark New Zealand CEO Jolie Hodson hopes to change.

"For Kiwis who are beyond the gender binary of male and female, when that data isn't collected or used correctly it can create deeply negative experiences on a daily basis.

"Ultimately, through publishing the code, we hope to encourage digital equity at an enterprise level."

When implemented, online forms will allow customers to select the pronouns and prefixes that best represent their identity.

It'll also include a variety of gender options that acknowledge gender diverse communities including non-binary and takatāpui, as well as an open field for individuals to enter their own, or if they would rather not say.

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For OutLine Aotearoa general manager Claire Black, it's a big step in the right direction.

"When trans and non-binary people are excluded, misgendered, or discriminated against during daily interactions with businesses, that contributes to an environment that is hostile to their wellbeing.

"OutLine sees this code and its supporting resources as a catalyst for creating better experiences that support and affirm the wellbeing of both non-binary people and Rainbow communities more broadly in Aotearoa".

It's about feeling seen and heard, said Quack.

"I understand that I'm a minority, but that doesn't mean I deserve any less respect, or any less thought should go into representing people like me."