Almost all young people would support a friend who came out as transgender, heartening research finds

Vic Parsons
·2-min read

Almost all young people in the UK say they would support a friend who came out to them as trans, according to new research.

The independent survey of almost 3,000 secondary school pupils found that more than half (57 per cent) already have a trans friend.

Ninety-six per cent of LGBT+ young people said they would support a friend if they came out as trans, compared with 76 per cent of non-LGBT+ young people.

Carried out for LGBT+ young people’s charity Just Like Us for Trans Day of Visibility, the survey also reveals that while 84 per cent of secondary school pupils say they would be supportive “if a close friend came out as transgender”, only 76 per cent think that the same would be true of a teacher if their pupil came out as trans.

A total of 2,934 secondary school pupils, including 1,140 LGBT+ young people, aged 11 to 18 across 375 UK schools and colleges filled in the survey in December 2020 and January 2021.

Dominic Arnall, chief executive of Just Like Us, called for schools to ensure trans young people are as welcomed at school as they are by their peers.

“We are really glad that, with this independent research, we are able to shine a light on the opinions of young people themselves and how supportive they are of their trans peers,” said Arnall. “Secondary school age young people are clearly incredibly supportive of trans people and would have no problem with a friend coming out as trans.”

He added: “We hope that this is positive motivation for parents, schools and the media at large to embrace trans and all LGBT+ young people and accept them for who they are.”

One straight pupil in Year 11 at a school in the North East said: “Being transgender isn’t really a choice. If we are close friends then we are close friends for a reason and them being trans wouldn’t change that.

“It would have no negative impact on my life so there is no reason for me to not be as supportive as possible and make them feel comfortable.”

In October, new Home Office figures showed that police investigate seven transphobic offences every single day in the UK, with the numbers having quadrupled between 2014-15 and 2019-20 – a 354 per cent increase

As anti-trans hostility increases in the UK, a report from Galop found that more than a quarter of trans people have experienced transphobia at school, college or in their place of work. As a result, 40 per cent of trans people are too afraid to go to school or work.