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Most oppose trans women competing in female sport, poll reveals


Champion US swimmer Lia Thomas

Champion US swimmer Lia Thomas

Champion US swimmer Lia Thomas

A majority of people do not believe transgender women should be allowed to compete in female sports, according to the latest Sunday Independent/Ireland Thinks poll.

The figures reveal striking differences in attitudes among respondents, depending on age and political allegiance.

However, significantly more people agree than disagree with the statements that “a transgender man is a man” and “a transgender woman is a woman”.

When asked if transgender women should be allowed to take part in sporting activities against other women, 68pc said no, with 17pc saying they should, while 15pc were unsure.

The participation of transgender women in sport has provoked considerable debate.

 Opponents say a transgender woman has the physicality of a man and, as such, has an unfair advantage over other women. However, those in favour say such an attitude is discriminatory.

The issue was in the spotlight last month when Fina, the world governing body for swimming, voted to stop transgender women from competing in women’s elite races if they have gone through any part of male puberty.

The poll reveals a strong divide between age groups.

Of respondents aged between 18 and 24, 47pc are opposed to transgender women competing in women’s sport, with 41pc in favour and 12pc unsure.

However, among those aged from 45-54, that figure rises to 76pc against, with 12pc in favour and 12pc unsure.

A somewhat higher proportion of respondents aged over 65 was in favour (19pc), with 70pc against and 11pc unsure.

There are also strong dividing lines on the issues when it comes to the political persuasions of respondents, with supporters of left-leaning parties much more in favour of allowing transgender women to compete in female sports than those who support more conservative parties.

Of the respondents who identified themselves as Fine Gael supporters 79pc were opposed. That figure fell to 73pc for Fianna Fáil supporters, 62pc of those backing Sinn Féin and 45pc of Green Party voters.

Of the latter, 41pc said trans women should be allowed to compete, by far the highest percentage among the three Government parties, with 14pc unsure.

Among other parties, 56pc of Social Democrats supporters and 47pc of Labour Party supporters were opposed, while 75pc of supporters of Independent candidates were opposed.   

Of those who said they would vote for Aontú, 98pc were against, by far the highest level of opposition.  

Just 16pc of those intending to vote for Solidarity/People Before Profit do not support trans women taking part in female sporting competition, with 69pc in favour (by far the highest among all parties) and 14pc unsure.  

When asked if they believed "a transgender man is a man", 48pc said they either strongly agreed or agreed, while 29pc either strongly disagreed or disagreed.

There was a similar response when respondents were asked if they believed the statement that "a transgender woman is a woman".

Two thirds of respondents aged between 18 and 24 were in agreement.

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