There’s a clear link between homophobia and transphobia, data confirms


Parade goers during Pride in London 2019 on July 06, 2019 in London, England. (Tristan Fewings/Getty)

Researchers have found a clear link between people who hold anti-gay views and people who hold anti-transgender views.

The National Centre for Social Research analysed data from the long-running British Social Attitudes survey, which includes questions about both same-sex relationships and transgender people.

In a report published on Thursday (July 11), researchers identified a clear link between those who are likely to hold negative views about transgender people, and those who believe that same-sex relationships are unacceptable.

Homophobia and transphobia are inextricably linked

The body explained that many “assume that public attitudes to transgender people may be reflective of attitudes to same-sex relationships,” because it is commonplace “to consider the experiences, needs, rights and contributions of sexual and gender minorities as interrelated.”

Researchers ran two regression analyses based on data sets from the survey, adding: “In both models we included attitudes to sex between two adults of the same sex as an explanatory variable, along with age, level of education, religious affiliation and sex.

“Even after controlling for these demographic characteristics, attitudes towards same-sex relationships remain associated with prejudice towards transgender people – with people who express less negative attitudes towards same-sex relationships also being less likely to report being prejudiced towards transgender people.”

Attitudes towards same-sex relationships remain associated with prejudice towards transgender people.

Those with negative attitudes towards same-sex relationships are also more likely to believe that people transition “because of a very superficial and temporary need.”

Women, younger people and more highly educated people are also more likely to hold positive attitudes about transgender people.

The report also contrasts the findings on trans rights to data that shows attitudes towards same-sex relationships steadily improving over a 30-year period.

A group of lesbian campaigners show solidarity with the trans community at 2019's Pride in London march.
A group of lesbian campaigners show solidarity with the trans community at 2019’s Pride in London march. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty)

It asks: “What might the time series on same-sex relationships suggest about the future pattern of attitudes to transgender people, given the link between the two in the minds of the public?

“Firstly, it may be that attitudes to transgender people follow a similar trajectory, and thus the proportion of the public who feel that transphobia is sometimes justified, or who feel uncomfortable with transgender people working in public services, will steadily decline over time.

“Secondly, it may be that progressive policymaking, including reforming the GRA, could itself influence the public to adopt more positive attitudes, as the progressive journey towards marriage equality has for same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.”

LGBT people ‘must stand together’ against homophobia and transphobia

Stonewall’s Executive Director of Campaigns and Strategy Paul Twocock said previously: “We will only make progress if we stand together.

“We are a diverse community made up of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, who come from different faiths, who live in different neighbourhoods and do different jobs. But we are united in our desire to create a world where we can be free to be ourselves.

“At such a vital time for trans equality, we strongly encourage everyone from across the LGBT community and beyond to be fierce, visible allies. We are strongest when we stand united. Together we will win this fight.”


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