Worry over trans reform widespread, survey shows The Times 11.04.21

The original article is here.

Proposals for gender reforms in Scotland are causing widespread concern amid calls for more open public debate on the issue.

A Panelbase poll for The Sunday Times found that 54 per cent of those surveyed were opposed to trans women using female changing rooms in venues such as swimming pools and sports centres, when “don’t knows” were excluded. On the question of trans women having access to lavatories in cinemas, theatres and pubs, 54 per cent expressed support. Sixty per cent said that trans women should not be allowed to compete in women’s sporting events, while 27 per cent thought they should. A further 14 per cent thought they should be allowed but with exceptions for sports such as rugby and boxing, again excluding “don’t knows”.

The poll of 1,009 people also sought views on whether or not trans women in need of refuge or shelter owing to domestic violence should have access to women’s shelters. Forty-three per cent of people said that all women’s shelters should accept trans women but 40 per cent said that there should be shelters designated for them.

Lucy Hunter Blackburn, a women’s rights campaigner, said that the polling suggested there was a public appetite for a “nuanced” discussion that took everyone’s interests and rights seriously. “The main message from these results is that the public is being badly let down by the political debate,” she said. “Only a minority of people in Scotland really believe a person’s sex is irrelevant compared to their identity.

“This becomes particularly clear in the results for prisons and sport. Yet most political parties and many public institutions have drifted into a situation where arguing that sometimes sex matters can carry real risks.”

The poll indicated that 32 per cent of people thought that trans women inmates should be housed among the general female population in prisons; 37 per cent opted for housing them in a separate wing in a women’s prison, 25 per cent in a separate wing in a men’s prison, and 6 per cent said they should be housed among the general men’s prison population.

The Scottish government is expected to press ahead with measures to make it easier for people to change their legally recognised gender after the election. Last month Holyrood passed a hate crime bill which created an offence of stirring up hatred on the grounds of religion, sexual orientation, age, disability and transgender identity.

The Equality Network, which champions LGBT equality and rights, could not be reached for comment.

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