Gender recognition reform polls: What do people say?


The debate around reforming the process to acquire a gender recognition certificate (GRC) in Scotland has become a full-blown constitutional clash. 

The Westminster Government has stepped in to block the Scottish Parliament’s Bill at the 11th hour, saying that the proposed legislation clashes with the Equality Act. 

The proposed change to obtaining a GRC would remove the need for trans people to require a gender dysphoria diagnosis and move to a self-ID model used by several other countries,  

It would also speed up the process and lower the age limit to 16, while requiring someone to live in their acquired gender for six months maximum instead of two years.  


READ MORE: Douglas Ross says ‘majority do not support bill’


For the first time since devolution, a section 35 order has been imposed to block royal assent for the Scottish bill, meaning a new version will have to be tabled or the issue settled in court.  

Holyrood passed the legislation with all parties in favour bar the Tories, although there was a significant rebellion of some SNP MSPs.  

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said that a majority of Scots are not in favour of the bill – but it he correct?  

How did we get to this point?  

Two polls have been carried out since the start of December, when the Scottish Parliament held a three-day session to debate the bill.  

It has been six years since the legislation was first mooted, and in that time two wide-reaching consultations have been heard. 

Opposing campaigns have formed, culminating in protests outside Holyrood, with opponents of the bill saying it curtails women’s rights, while supporters say it allows nothing more than bureaucratic changes which allow trans people to live with dignity.  

What do people think?  

Since the start of December, two polls have been carried out looking at public support for the specifics of the bill.  

In December, Yougov carried out a survey of 1090 Scots om behalf of the Times newspaper, asking them if they agreed with the changes to the rules. 

Four questions were asked – on the lowering of the age limit, the removal of a dysphoria diagnosis, the shortening of the time period living in acquired gender and whether is should be a criminal offence to make a false declaration.    

On the medical issue, three-out-of-five people, or 60%, said they disagreed with the proposal to do away with a dysphoria diagnosis, while only 20% said they supported it with the rest unsure.  

HeraldScotland:

When it came to lowering the age limit, opposition rose to 66%, with 21% in favour, while there was also little backing for the plan to shorten the time a person would need to live in their acquired gender.


READ MORE: UK Government confirms move to block gender reforms


Of those polled, 59% said they were opposed to this change, with 21% in support.

Only on the question of making a false declaration was support and opposition switched, with 59% in agreement it shouldbe an offence against 15% disagreeing.

HeraldScotland:

An age gap was apparent in the survey, with people aged  16-24 more in favour of the proposed changes than those opposed. However, support dropped rapidly in relation to participants age.  

Have there been further polls?    

With strong rumours swirling that Westminster was about to block the bill, the Spectator magazine commissioned a similar poll by Redfield and Wilton among voters in England and Wales.   

Issued on Sunday, it found that some 37 per cent opposed proposals to allow people to legally change their gender without a medical diagnosis for gender dysphoria, compared to 28 per cent who support it. 

There was even greater skepticism about allowing children to legally change their gender at the age of 16 rather than 18 – fewer than a quarter of all voters (22 per cent) support the change compared to more than half (54 per cent) who oppose it.  

The survey also shed light on the political calculations which may be behind Westminster’s decision to block the Scottish Parliament’s legislation. 

It was estimated that 50% of voters would support such a move, rising to 63% of Conservative voters.  

 





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