The findings come from a report by LGBT+ young people’s charity Just Like Us
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY ZACKARY DRUCKER/ALYZA ENRIQUEZ THE GENDER SPECTRUM COLLECTION
Today marks the annual observation of Trans Day Of Visibility, a time dedicated to celebrating the transgender community as well as raising awareness of the challenges and discrimination trans individuals face around the world. But in a world where transphobia is rampant, many trans people can understandably fear being visible.
Today, LGBT+ young people’s charity Just Like Us has released research findings from their upcoming report, Positive Futures. In the survey of 3695 adults aged 18 to 25, 74% of those who described themselves as “not supportive” of trans people said, “they do not know anyone who is transgender”.
66% of respondents stated they know someone who is transgender, with 28% sharing that this was someone they are close to. The report found that people who know a trans person are twice as likely to be trans allies. In comparison, those who “do not know any transgender people”, just 33% described themselves as “very supportive” of trans people. However, this is compared to 64% of people who do know a trans person, whether they are close to them or not.
But what about people who know trans people but are not allies? The report finds just 3% of people who know a trans person responded saying they are “not supportive”, compared to 18% who do not have a trans person in their lives.
Overall, 89% of LGBTQIA young adults said they were “supportive” or “very supportive” of trnas people, compared to 69% of non-LGBTQIA young adults.
Of all LGBTQIA identities, other than transgender and non-binary people, lesbian young adults were most likely to say they know a trans person (92%), and most likely to say they are “supportive” or “very supportive” of trans people (96%). In comparison, 89% of LGBTQIA individuals surveyed said they were “supportive” or “very supportive” of trans people, with only 69% of non-LGBTQIA people stating the same.
Amy Ashenden, interim CEO of Just Like Us has said: “We hear so much in the news and daily life now that is negative about trans people, and now the research shows that much of this negativity stems from not even knowing a trans person in real life.
“There is fear in the unknown and we need LGBT+ inclusive education in schools to remove the shame and stigma. Unfortunately, because trans people only make up 0.5% of the population in England and Wales, not many people actually know a trans person in real life and then they see fear mongering in the press or on social media and worry about something that is unknown to them. We desperately need better education so future generations don’t write off an entire community based on fears of the unknown.
“Negative attitudes towards trans people are incredibly damaging and have real-word effects – the trans young people we work with tell us daily the impact this negativity and fear mongering is having on their mental health and wellbeing.
“It makes sense that the majority of people who describe themselves as unsupportive of trans people don’t even know a trans person. It also makes sense that knowing a trans person makes you twice as likely to be a trans ally. We’ve seen in the past how homophobia has been largely driven by fears of the unknown and sadly history is repeating itself.”
“I’m also delighted to see that lesbians are by far the most supportive of trans people. As a lesbian myself, I know just how supportive our community is towards our trans siblings and it’s fantastic to finally have the evidence to demonstrate this – lesbians and trans people stand in solidarity together. We always have done.”
The full Positive Futures report will be published on 1 June 2023. The research was carried out independently by Cibyl in January 2023. Positive Futures will look at the experiences of young LGBTQIA adults in the UK and cover a range of topics from their wellbeing, home life and time in school to their experiences in the world of work.
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