Now Reading
New poll exposes the fault lines in the battle for trans rights

New poll exposes the fault lines in the battle for trans rights

  • Poll shows most Britons understand trans people face discrimination – but a lot are apparently fine with that.
Sparkle trans festival in Manchester, England.

70% of Britons believe trans people face discrimination and just over half understand that gender identity isn’t the same as biological sex.

However some are still not happy with transgender people using single-sex spaces spaces that match their true gender identity. Moreover, 19% of British people think trans rights have gone too far in the country.

Those are the major findings of new research from independent polling company Ipsos MORI out today.

The researchers also discovered big age differences in attitudes.

56% of Gen Z (ages 18 to 24) say transgender rights have not gone far enough. But this figure falls to just 39% of Millennials (ages 25 to 40), 33% of Gen X (ages 41 to 54) and just 20% of Baby Boomers (ages 55 to 75).

In addition, half of Gen Z (51%) and Millennials (50%) support transgender people using public facilities that match their gender identity. However, only around a third of Gen X (35%) and just a quarter of Baby Boomers (26%) feel the same.

That subject is a particular battleground for trans Brits at the moment. Equalities Minister Liz Truss has indicated she wants to restrict trans people from using single-sex spaces.

However, campaigners warn this restriction on access to the likes of public bathrooms and changing rooms would seriously harm their daily lives.

Overall, the research finds 38% support trans people using bathrooms and changing rooms to match their identity with 25% against. That’s a net support of 13 points.

Meanwhile more support trans access than don’t in all age groups save Baby Boomers who are 26% in favor to 31% against.

Younger Brits more comfortable around trans people

Despite this, most people feel comfortable with transgender people in a variety of circumstances.

For example, 56% would be comfortable if a close friend or relative was transgender – with just 18% uncomfortable.

This also shows a big age difference. For Gen Z 68% would be comfortable with a trans friend or family member. But that falls to 62% of Millennials, 55% of Gen X and 49% of Baby Boomers.

Likewise, younger people are far more likely to use gender neutral terms (like ‘they’ or ‘xe’).

Meanwhile 51% would be comfortable with a transgender GP (family doctor) with only 22% uncomfortable. Moreover, 47% would be fine with a future transgender prime minister with just 21% uncomfortable.

Overall, Labour voters, women and Gen Z are more comfortable being around trans people than others.

No TERFs, most women don’t agree with you

That in turn is particularly significant when it comes to the argument about whether gender identity is the same as biological sex at birth.

Just over half (54%) of the public think gender identity doesn’t have to be directly linked to biological sex. By comparison 30% think biological sex and gender identity are always the same. And 14% don’t know.

That’s a clear majority who support a key aspect of trans and non-binary existence – of 24 percentage points.

Furthermore, women are more likely to think gender can be separate from biological sex. 59% of women think this way, compared to 49% of men.

That undermines the transphobic ‘TERF’ campaigners’ argument that they represent a ‘silent majority’ of women.

Split over future of trans rights in UK

Meanwhile, the immediate future of trans and non-binary rights in the UK currently hang in the balance.

Campaigners have been waiting two years for the government to update the 2004 Gender Recognition Act to make it fairer and faster for trans people.

However, leaks indicate the government may shelve reform. Instead reports claim they will offer the LGBT+ community a ban on dangerous ‘conversion therapy’ to appease us.

So it’s significant that the research indicates the British public is split over trans rights.

Exactly a third (33%) believe transgender rights haven’t gone far enough. Yet 19% think trans rights have gone too far in Britain and 21% think they have gone as far as they should (21%). Another quarter of the public don’t know.

Gendered Intelligence commented on Twitter that the research shows ‘heartening yet conflicting’ results.

It welcomed the fact so many believe trans people face discrimination. However, it is concerned that ‘a fifth of people feel trans rights have “gone too far” in the UK’.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,078 british adults aged 18 to 75. Researchers conducted the interview online between 26 June and 29 June.