You may well be surprised to hear this.
The vast majority in Britain people say they have no prejudice against transgender people. That’s according to the latest report on British Social Attitudes, released today.
The study of the 2018 version of the annual survey says 83% claim they are “not prejudiced at all” towards transgender people. And that’s a one per cent rise since the same question was asked the year before.
Only 15% describe themselves as “very” or “a little” prejudiced.
so why the abuse?
You won’t be alone if you find that hard to believe after all the anti-trans abuse we’ve seen and heard over the last two years.
Opposition to reform of the Gender Recognition Act gave a relatively small and vocal group a focus for their prejudice.
“While we have a new and radically transformed set of social norms in the field of sexual relations and gender, we also have a significant minority who feel differently about these issues”, the report says.
“That minority may become increasingly focused on ensuring that socially conservative views and voices are reflected in public discussion of gender and relationships”.
The annual snapshot of the way the nation feels helps us to understand how the terfs are getting away with it. Because, although the vast majority say they aren’t prejudiced, they are more tolerant of other people’s prejudice against trans people.
Only 49% said trans prejudice is always wrong.
we need to tell them
Think about that for a second … a third of the population of this country say they aren’t prejudiced against trans people, but it’s not always wrong for other people to be prejudiced.
It’s clear that we need to make people understand far more what it actually means to face transphobia.
We also have a lot of work to do letting people know the real social and emotional cost of transitioning.
lack of knowledge
The public were also asked whether they believed that “most people who are transgender have gone through this process because of a very superficial and temporary need”. Almost two thirds disagreed.
Interestingly around a fifth neither agreed nor disagreed, and the authors of the study say it’s likely that many of those simply don’t know enough about transitioning to have an opinion.
“a striking finding”
The highly respected annual survey of people’s attitudes and beliefs has been carried out by the charity NatCen Social Research since 1983.
It began asking about attitudes to transgender people and transitioning in 2016.
The authors of this 36th edition of the study are surprised at the high number of people saying they have no prejudice against trans people.
They say: “this is a striking finding given that levels of self-reported prejudice towards some other minoritised groups remain stubbornly high”.
why the LGB community need to take notice
Their findings consistently show that women, younger people, more highly educated people and those who are non-religious are all more likely to have positive attitudes.
They also hold a warning for other members of the LGBT community who are not being fully supportive of trans people. “Evidence suggests that liberal attitudes toward one topic or group tend to predict liberal attitudes toward others, and conversely prejudice in one area tends to be reflected by prejudice in other areas”.
For the first time since the 1980s there’s been a fall in the number of people who think gay sex is not wrong at all.
Picture credits: Surprised emoji, from Apple. Graph showing prejudice by age, from the British Social Attitudes 36 report. BSA36 logo from NatCen Social Research.