Support for trans-inclusive policies in the UK among the lowest in the world, according to Ipsos poll

transgender rights Ipsos
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Recent international research says that the UK ranks amongst the lowest in the world in terms of support for gender-affirming care, and trans people living according to their gender. That’s according to market research company Ipsos’ 2023 Pride Survey.

Between 17 February and 3 March 2023, Ipsos interviewed a total of 22,514 adults in 30 different countries. These included countries on every continent, although Africa was notably under-represented. The sample from the UK was large enough to be considered representative of the general population.

This comes shortly after the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s most recent ranking showed that the UK had plummeted to 17th place in terms of its friendliness towards queer people.


The Ipsos survey reported that:

Support for pro-transgender measures varies by age, gender, and especially by country. It tends to be higher among younger adults and women. It is generally highest in Thailand, Southern Europe, and Latin America, and lowest in South Korea, Eastern Europe, Great Britain, and the United States.

In general, the UK respondents’ support for pro-trans measures was among the lowest in the countries surveyed.

Regarding perceptions of anti-trans discrimination, 64% of Brits believe that trans people face a fair-to-great amount of discrimination in our society. This is compared to the 19% who disagree. Notably, this comes during a time of rapidly rising transphobic hate crimes.

Read on...

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We can consider this alongside another question. It asked whether trans people should be protected from discrimination in “employment, housing, and access to businesses such as restaurants and stores”.

Here, Britain avoided ranking in the lowest group. 77% of respondents believed that trans people should receive protections. However, somewhat stunningly, 15% seemed to think that discrimination against trans people should be permitted.

It should be noted that, even before the current wave of anti-trans panic, one in three UK employers said that they would be less likely to hire a trans person. A 2018 survey said that 43% of employers were unsure that they would hire a trans person at all.

Britain ranked among the lowest in terms of support for the inclusion of gender markers other than ‘male’ and ‘female’ on passports and official documents. 47% of Brits were in support, placing the UK in the company of Poland and Romania. However, the agreement still outnumbered the 38% who disagreed with the measure.

UK respondents were at a dead tie for support on trans people using gendered facilities like toilets that correspond to their gender identity. 40% were in favour, and 40% were opposed. This put only the US below Britain, and South Korea three places above it.


Likewise, just 36% of Brits agreed that:

Health insurance systems should cover the costs of gender transition no differently than the costs of other medical procedures.

This was compared to 48% – almost one in every two people – who disagreed.

So, 64% of the UK believes that trans people face discrimination, but 48% believe that trans people should be discriminated against directly in terms of their receipt of healthcare. Fantastic. And, all of this is before we come to the hot-button issue of trans healthcare for minors.

The survey posed the question:

With parental consent, transgender teenagers should be allowed to receive gender-affirming care (e.g., counseling and hormone replacement treatment).

47% of UK respondents agreed. By contrast, 35% disagreed, and 18% were unsure. Whilst the agreement vastly outweighed the disagreement, we should bear two things in mind.

First, we ranked above only Hungary and the US. In the latter, extreme-right politicians are currently whipping up moral panic and enacting sweeping bans on puberty blockers.

Second, this question wasn’t about just surgery, hormone therapy, or even puberty blockers. It explicitly included counselling. As such, 35% of the UK is apparently opposed to trans youth even talking to a therapist who might agree that they are trans.

Media influence

If you want to know how we got into this mess, look no further than the UK’s relentlessly transphobic corporate media. The Guardian chose to report on the Ipsos survey using the headline:

Less than half in Britain back gender-affirming care for trans teenagers

Britain also ranks low in 30-country poll on support for access to public facilities matching gender identity

This is, at best, deeply disingenuous. To a casual reader, it would sound as though the majority of the public is in opposition because it conveniently omits the fact that 18% were unsure. Crucially, it also completely glazes over the fact that the supporters outnumber their opponents by 12%.

In turn, this relentless trans-hostility is playing directly into the hands of queerphobes across the board. For example, the survey also showed that support for gay marriage has fallen in Britain. It dropped by 4% since just 2021. Now, support stands at 64% in favour. This is mirrored by the fact that homophobic hate crimes have increased every year in England and Wales from 2016 to 2021.

This current atmosphere of hatred may well have started with trans people. However, it will not stop with them by any means. Even well-established rights like gay marriage hang in the balance. For now, the UK – miserable little country that it is – has fitting bedfellows in Hungary and the US.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Ted Eytan, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license, resized to 770*403

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