57% of UK women are supportive of trans people’s right to self-identify

By Stephanie Rendall
Monday, 13th July 2020, 2:45 pm
Updated Monday, 13th July 2020, 4:08 pm
A Black Trans Lives Matter march was held on June 27, 2020 to campaign for reforms to  the gender recognition act. (Getty Images)
A Black Trans Lives Matter march was held on June 27, 2020 to campaign for reforms to the gender recognition act. (Getty Images)

The majority of women in the UK support trans people’s right to self-identify their gender, a new survey has revealed.

The findings of the poll (conducted by YouGov for PinkNews) comes after Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, was accused of transphobia last month.

The results could also now be used by trans rights campaigners in the fight to reform the Gender Recognition Act (GRA).

What did the poll reveal?

The poll surveyed 1,677 adults in the UK, and found that 57 per cent of female participants were in favour of self-identification for trans people,

Comparatively, 43 per cent of the men questioned agreed with gender self-identification.

The topic remains a divisive one, with exactly half of the UK population as a whole in favour of this right.

Meanwhile, 27 per cent were not in favour, and 23 per cent were unsure how they felt about self-identification of one's gender.

Why was JK Rowling accused of transphobia?

Children’s author JK Rowling came under fire for a series of tweets and a blog post, which many users deemed to be transphobic.

In June, Rowling responded to claims of transphobia by writing that she was “deeply concerned about the consequences of the current trans activism”, adding that she felt certain trans rights were an “erosion of women’s and girl’s rights.”

She suggested that allowing trans people to enter bathrooms aligning to their self-identified gender posed a threat to biological women, stating, “I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe.”

A trans rights protest placard. This weekend saw activists campaign for trans rights at the 16th annual Sparkle Weekend event in Manchester. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Benjamin Cohen, CEO of PinkNews said, “Despite all of the negative coverage on trans issues in the mainstream media over the past year, it is reassuring to see that the majority of the population still agree with the rights of a person to self-identify their defined gender.

“The fact that most women support these rights, once again proves that the rights of trans people and women are not in conflict.”

Reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA)

The GRA gives trans people the right to be issued with a new birth certificate that amends the sex listed on their original birth certificate.

However, this is currently a lengthy process, which requires the individual to give two medical reports detailing their Gender Dysphoria to a Gender Recognition Panel, and a detailed psychiatric assessment, along with a fee of £140.

Trans activists have fought to ease the laborious process required by the GRA and back in 2017, Theresa May announced plans to reform the Act and potentially remove the requirement for medical reports. By 2018 a public consultation was held on the government website, with over 108,000 responses.

However, despite former minister for women and equalities Penny Mordaunt stating that reform plans would be “out the door in the next few weeks” back in July last year, no such plans have been made.

In June this year, government plans to abandon the reforms were leaked and reported on by The Times.

Pink News has since written an open letter to Boris Johnson titled "Boris Johnson, will you keep your promises to trans people?"

The posts asks the Prime Minister "to reaffirm that you still agree with both the commitment of Theresa May relating to transgender rights and your own words to PinkNews last year."

A Government Equalities Office (GEO) spokesperson speaking to the Manchester Evening News, said the GEO wouldn’t comment on the leak, but would publish its response in July.