Despite mainstream media narratives, new research has found that most people in the UK approach trans issues with ‘compassion’
Toxic Twitter discourse on trans issues can often make it seem like there are TERFs literally everywhere, but new research has found that the British public are not as polarised over trans rights as the internet may make it seem. New research from the More in Common organisation has found that the average person approaches gender identity issues with “compassion”.
“Many of our findings are reassuring. The public do not approach the issue of gender identity through a hyper-political lens. Instead, their common starting point is one of compassion,” the report reads.
“They understand that for many trans people life can be difficult and most think as a society we have a responsibility to make it less so. None of the people we spoke to, from across the ideological spectrum, saw the debate in terms of a battle over the definition of womanhood, or thought that trans people were a threat. Instead, they saw very practical issues needing practical solutions.”
The report, which is thought to be the most in-depth study to date of public attitudes towards trans rights, also found that the majority of Britons agree that schools should talk to pupils about trans issues. There was absolutely no suggestion that normal people are worried that schools, campaigners or charities were “pushing children to transition”, as some anti-trans figures have suggested.
The survey also found that while right-wing papers often run inflammatory and harmful stories about trans people, just 2 per cent of participants identified trans issues as one of the top issues facing the country. 64 per cent identified the cost of living crisis as the most pressing issue.
When asked “is a trans man a man and a trans woman a woman?”, most participants either agreed or said they didn’t know, with a minority of 32 per cent saying they actively disagreed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gen Z and Millennials were more likely to agree with this statement than other, older generations.
The report stressed that these promising results do not mean we can get complacent. “The danger is that unless healthier and better debate can be created, the all-or-nothing approaches of highly engaged activists could bleed into the public consciousness and lead to wider polarisation that serves no one (or their cause) well.”
“The notion that Britons fail to grasp the complexity of this issue is at best ignorant and, at worst, actively patronising,” it continues. “Britons are aware of the issues and want sensible, sound and tailored solutions to problems which are not abstract debates, but instead real issues that affect their friends, families and colleagues. The British public is not well served by noisy debates, inflammatory tweets or reductive questions.”