28% of Britons back easing rules on gender change The Times 16.07.20

The original article is here.

Many more Britons oppose making it easier to legally change gender than support it, a poll has found.

More people also oppose allowing transgender women or men access to single-sex changing rooms or lavatories than support it unless they have had gender reassignment surgery.

The poll results will strengthen the hand of ministers as they prepare to rule out easing the process of gaining legal gender recognition in England and Wales, despite a high level of support for self-identification in a government consultation. Liz Truss, the equalities minister, will also clarify circumstances in which transgender people may be excluded from single-sex facilities or women’s refuges. Scotland is consulting on separate changes.

In an online YouGov poll of 1,688 adults in late June 28 per cent agreed that it should be easier for people to change their legal gender, with 47 per cent against. There was less support when respondents were asked about changing the process for obtaining a gender recognition certificate. At present this requires the applicant to have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, to have lived as that gender for two years and to commit to doing so for life. It also needs approval from a panel.

When asked if a doctor’s approval should no longer be required 16 per cent agreed and 63 per cent did not. The figures were almost the same for the two-year requirement.

The government equalities offices estimates that there are between 200,000 and 500,000 transgender people in the UK. Only 5,500 have been granted a certificate and in the government consultation many said that the process was intrusive and burdensome.

YouGov’s findings suggest that Britons draw a distinction between legal recognition and the freedom of transgender people to choose their own gender. Forty per cent agreed with the statement “a transgender woman is a woman” while 36 per cent disagreed. More people supported than opposed trans people’s right in principle to access to single-sex spaces, but this was reversed when asked whether this should apply to those who have not had gender reassignment surgery.