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Clear majority of the UK public supports transgender self-ID and LGBT-inclusive education

Vic Parsons July 3, 2019

The 27th annual Dyke March in NYC, 2019. (Gabriele Holtermann-Gorden/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The majority of people in the UK are in favour of transgender people self-identifying their gender and children being taught about LGBT people at school.

Despite public protests, 59 percent of the UK population – including 47 percent of Conservative voters – back teaching LGBT-inclusive relationships education in schools.

56 percent of people are also in favour of trans people being able to self-identify their gender, which comes as the government is expected to respond to its consultation on potential reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) in the coming weeks.

The figures come from new polling carried out for PinkNews by YouGov, which is being released ahead of PinkNews’ LGBT+ Westminster reception on July 4.

At the 2017 PinkNews Awards, Prime Minister Theresa May said, “We’ve set out plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act, streamlining and demedicalising the process for changing gender, because being trans is not an illness and it shouldn’t be treated as such.”

Since this statement, there has been a backlash to the proposals by those opposed to equality for transgender people.

Clear public support for trans people self-identifying their gender puts pressure on the government and the next prime minister to press ahead with reforms to the GRA that will make the process of changing legal gender easier and less intrusive for trans people.

Transgender self-identification backed by 56% of UK public

The GRA is the mechanism that allows trans people to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) and change the gender on their birth certificate.

Currently, trans people must prove they have lived in their gender for two years and have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, after which their application for a GRC is approved – or refused – by a panel of people who don’t meet them.

Reforming the GRA to allow trans people to self-determine their gender when applying for a GRC, without a medical diagnosis or the need to prove their lived gender, has been called for by Stonewall and other LGBT+ organisations.

In practice, most trans people self-identify their gender in their day-to-day lives, as a GRC is not required to access gendered spaces such as bathrooms or changing rooms. But self-ID has become a cornerstone of the backlash against GRA reform from some anti-trans feminists.

59% support LGBT-inclusive relationships education in schools

In recent months, there have been protests at primary schools against teaching an LGBT-inclusive curriculum.

But the new polling shows that the majority of the population (59 percent) backs the government’s new policy of LGBT-inclusive relationships education in primary schools.

Writing for PinkNews on Tuesday (July 2), Prime Minister Theresa May said, “The work we do with young people is particularly important in addressing some of these issues and last week the introduction of compulsory relationships education for primary-age pupils was a historic step forward.”

“I know that policy in particular has been controversial in some areas, but teaching all children about respect for difference is a core British value, something I and every government should always stand for,” May said.

The poll also found that 60 percent of the British public support same-sex couples becoming parents via surrogacy or adoption.

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