Don’t make trans switch easier, say public The Times 05.01.19

The original article is here.

The public are happy for transgender women to use women’s changing rooms and lavatories but do not think it should be easier to change gender legally, a poll for The Times has found.

Penny Mordaunt, the equalities minister, held a consultation last year to examine reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, under which trans people get legal recognition of their gender. There had been complaints that the process was too bureaucratic, expensive and intrusive.

Trans people can change their legal gender by meeting the requirements set out in the act and receive a gender recognition certificate, by which their birth certificate is changed. To qualify they must have a medical diagnosis and assessment, having provided proof that they have lived for at least two years in their chosen gender.

The YouGov poll on 1,660 adults, taken last month, suggested that most people want the status quo to remain. It found that 28 per cent said the process should be made easier, and 49 per cent said it should not. Almost a quarter, 24 per cent, were unsure.

Women were slightly more likely to be relaxed about allowing a change, with only 47 per cent against making things easier compared with 50 per cent of men.

There was a much bigger divide along political lines: 63 per cent of Conservative voters were against making changing gender easier, as were 39 per cent of Labour supporters.

There was also a significant age difference. Thirty-seven per cent of people aged 18-24 were against relaxing the rules, compared with 59 per cent of people aged 65 and over.

Sixty-five per cent of people said that a person should have to get a doctor’s approval to change their legal gender, compared with 14 per cent who were against. Sixty-four per cent said that trans people should still be required to show that they had lived in their preferred gender for two years, compared with 14 per cent against.

Since the act came into force, 4,910 trans people have received certificates.

Respondents in the poll were more relaxed about transgender women using women’s changing rooms and lavatories, with 42 per cent saying they should be allowed to use the changing rooms and 33 per cent saying they should not. For lavatories it was 47 per cent for and 46 per cent against.

Women were much more likely to be accepting of transgender women using women’s changing facilities than men were. Forty-eight per cent of women thought it was acceptable and 28 per cent did not. For men it was 38 per cent in favour and 36 per cent against.

Many more people were in favour of transgender women being able to use women’s refuges if they had been raped or assaulted, with 47 per cent in favour and 27 per cent against.

People were much more cautious, however, about transgender women taking part in women’s sporting events. Twenty-seven per cent thought it should be allowed and 48 per cent said it should not.

The respondents also did not believe that transgender support groups should be allowed to distribute material to schools, with 43 per cent against it and 35 per cent in favour.

Survey results

Do you think a person should or should not have to obtain a doctor’s approval to change their legal gender?
Should: 65%
Should not: 14%
Don’t know: 21%

Do you think transgender women should be allowed to . . .
Take part in women’s sporting events? Yes: 27%
Use women’s changing rooms? 42%
Use women’s lavatories? 47%
Use women’s refuges for victims of rape or assault (if they are a victim themselves)? 47%

Source: YouGov/Times poll