• Just 24 per cent now think trans should be allowed to change sex ‘if they want’ 

Public support for transgender people’s ability to change the sex on their birth certificates has drastically fallen in recent years, a major survey reveals.

Just 24 per cent of people now agree that trans people should be allowed to change their sex ‘if they want’ – compared to support levels of 58 per cent in 2016.

The results have emerged as part of the British Social Attitudes report, carried out annually by the National Centre for Social Research.

Researchers also looked at public opinion on trans rights – and came to similar conclusions. Asked whether they thought trans rights had gone too far, 47 per cent of the public thought they had. Just over one in five (22 per cent) thought they hadn’t gone far enough.

Just 24 per cent of people now agree that trans people should be allowed to change their sex 'if they want' ¿ compared to support levels of 58 per cent in 2016 (stock photo)

Just 24 per cent of people now agree that trans people should be allowed to change their sex ‘if they want’ – compared to support levels of 58 per cent in 2016 (stock photo)

Thousands of people take part in a London Trans+ Pride march from the Wellington Arch to Soho in July 2022

Thousands of people take part in a London Trans+ Pride march from the Wellington Arch to Soho in July 2022

This compared to 2021 – when the question was first asked – when 33 per cent of the public said they thought trans rights had gone too far.

The researchers said: ‘It could be argued that this apparent shift in attitudes may be restricted to the specific issue of gender self-identification.

‘Alternatively, perhaps the intensity of debate [has] influenced attitudes towards people who are transgender more broadly, with the result that views towards society’s protection of their rights may have shifted in a more illiberal direction.’

Fiona McAnena, of women’s rights charity Sex Matters, praised the findings, saying: ‘This huge swing in opinion is down to the fact that the more the public understand the real-world impact of pretending that people can change sex, the less they like it.

‘People now realise that this is not just a case of being kind to a tiny minority.’

Under the Gender Recognition Act, people can only change the sex on their birth certificate if their doctor has confirmed they are trans and they have obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate.

In 2020 ministers ruled out reforming the Act to allow people to self-identify and legally change sex without a medical diagnosis. Efforts to introduce self-ID in Scotland were blocked last year.

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