Journalist Leisa Goddard says students are identifying as cats

Leisa Goddard says high school students are identifying as cats 

Journalist and PR expert Leisa Goddard raised concern about proposed changes to the next census from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), noting that she’s aware of high school students who identify as felines.

The ABS had made a recommendation that a greater number of gender descriptors to be provided in the next census. The proposal triggered an outcry from conservative commenters who argued that the broader gender descriptors would make the information collected by the ABS less accurate, and in turn lead to poorer decision making by government.

Appearing on the Sky News program Hardgrave, journalist and public relations specialist Leisa Goddard, shared her thoughts on the decision to allow a wide range of descriptors for gender.

“It comes by fact of what’s being taught in classrooms and what’s being accepted in schools. I can give you an example of a school where you have got students there in a high school who, forget the ‘I identify as a ‘they’ or ‘my pronouns are going to be different’ – fine. They identify as cats.” Goddard claimed.

“Cats?” responded host Gary Hardgrave.

“Cats!” confirmed Goddard. “So you’ve got, at a fairly well-known school, you’ve got students, in different grades, who are identifying as cats.”

Goddard said people should be concerned about how students identifying as cats would affect the next census.

“Now take this back to the ABS data, their collecting this which is then going to give them more of an argument, so that instead of 1,200 people identifying in this small minority, you’re going to see this number rise because they’ve got a greater selection criteria. That will then further arguments and attack us with things like ‘you can’t call people Mum and Dad’, or the craziness this week – we saw the Australian Breast Feeding Association come out and say it has to be called chestfeeding.” Goddard said.

ABS clarifies collection of gender information in census

Today the ABS clarified that they would not be collecting information about gender in the 2021 census.

“The 2021 Census will collect information on sex but will not collect information on gender.” the ABS said in a statement.

“The sex question is one of the most important in the Census, along with age and location, it directly feeds into the official estimates of Australia’s population.

“People who wish to report their sex as other than male or female will have the option of a ‘non-binary sex’ response category.

“The ABS defines a person’s sex as being based on their sex characteristics, such as their chromosomes, hormones and reproductive organs.

“Gender is about social and cultural differences in identity, expression and experience as a man, woman or non-binary person. A person’s gender may differ from their sex and may also differ from what is indicated on their legal documents.” the ABS declared.

The organisation has recently released a new standard for collecting information about sex and gender, which has lead to significant media commentary about how information relating to sex, gender, and sexuality, should be recorded.  The new stadard would apply to future work conducted by the ABS, but will not apply to the 2021 census.

Graeme Watson, OUTinPerth has contacted Leisa Goddard and asked for more information about the school with students identifying as cats. 16-05-21 11:00 This post has been updated to improve clarity around the announcement from the ABS.    

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