This is what Red Wall voters think about trans women. Spoiler: It’s the same as everyone else
Just 35 per cent of “Red Wall” voters think that transgender women should be allowed to use female changing rooms – the exact same percentage as all British voters.
And 28 per cent of “Red Wall” voters think transgender women should not be allowed to use female changing rooms, compared with 27 per cent of all Britons.
The figures come from a new YouGov poll of people living in 51 constituencies across the North, Midlands, and North Wales that the Conservatives won from Labour at the 2019 general election – the so-called “Red Wall” voters that are seen as Labour’s lost heartlands.
Contrary to media stereotyping of “Red Wall” voters as socially conservative and hostile to progressive, socially liberal movements and policies, like trans rights, YouGov’s poll reveals that these voters attitudes’ towards trans women in particular are exactly in line with the rest of the country.
In fact on most issues polled, “Red Wall” voters have the same views as the population as a whole.
There's a stereotypical view in Westminster of people who live in the Red Wall as being somehow unique, but how far is it accurate?@PME_Politics shows that on most issues the views of Red Wall residents are the same as the population as a wholehttps://t.co/5Fuy0zARlf pic.twitter.com/gsRrCLoBc5
— YouGov (@YouGov) May 17, 2021
The latest YouGov figures match previous analysis of attitudes towards trans women and single-sex spaces carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
According to figures from the EHRC, obtained from the 2019 British Social Attitudes survey (BSA), 76 per cent of people in the UK believe prejudice against transgender people is always or mostly wrong.
But the figures showed that within three years, the percentage of women who said they were comfortable with a trans woman using a women’s public toilet dropped from 72 per cent to 66 per cent.
The proportion of men who said they would be comfortable with a trans man using men’s public toilets also dropped from 64 per cent to 58 per cent.
Labour, the Red Wall and transphobia
YouGov’s figures come as calls for Keir Starmer to condemn alleged transphobia in the Labour party have been repeatedly ignored over the past 10 months.
In particular, LGBT+ Labour, dozens of student Labour groups and hundreds of Labour members, activists, trade union reps and councillors have demanded Starmer suspend Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield for her repeated anti-trans comments.
Two staffers quit Duffield’s team in 2020, saying that her opinions and comments about trans people are “overtly transphobic” and “detrimental to the welfare of the trans community”. A lesbian who quit in August told Duffield that her views on trans rights made continuing to work for her “untenable”.
After the second woman resigned, Duffield outed her on Twitter – leading to the trade union for MP’s staff condemning Duffield for “abusing her position” and calling for the Labour Party to immediately launch a formal investigation.
In all of this, there was almost total silence from Labour’s leadership.
Deputy leader Angela Rayner was the only senior Labour politician to publicly comment on the row engulfing Duffield, saying in October 2020 that Duffield should “reflect” on her comments.
But instead the MP escalated tensions in an interview with The Times, condemning the criticism of her views on trans issues as “base, pure misogyny”, while insisting she “isn’t anti-trans”.
Asked days later by the BBC if he was “afraid to take a stand” after Duffield said she was being labelled a transphobe and sent death threats, Starmer said: “No, I think we’ve got to improve the situation here. The Gender Recognition Act is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t go far enough.”
He continued: “But what we’ve got to do is detoxify this discussion. We’ve got people having a very bitter argument.
“If we’re really going to make progress, and I think we can, we need to have a much better debate about it so that we can actually make that progress.”
Duffield has previously denied she is transphobic, with a spokesperson for the MP telling LabourList in September 2020: “Rosie fully supports trans rights. She believes passionately that people have the right to live with dignity and be treated with respect in an equal and inclusive society.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on a Covid-19 "circuit breaker", winning back votes in the South East and dealing with transphobia. pic.twitter.com/Sxs0CqUoUp
— BBC South East (@bbcsoutheast) October 15, 2020