Study finds young people would support transgender friends

A survey conducted by Just Like Us, a UK-based LGBTQ youth charity, found that most young people would support their close friends if they came out as transgender. The survey included children aged 11 to 18 years old across 375 schools and colleges. They released their findings on the Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31.

Of the 2,934 students surveyed, 1,140 (nearly 39% of the group) identified as LGBTQ. In total, 84% said they would be supportive of a close friend who came out as transgender. Of the LGBTQ students, 96% said they would be supportive, while only 76% of non-LGBTQ students shared the same sentiment. Along with these statistics, only 76% of students thought that their teachers would be supportive of them or their friends. 57% of respondents also noted that they already know a friend or peer who is trans.

A few of the students backed up their positions:

A respondent that identified as lesbian responded, "I've seen previous friends dealing with transphobia and now want to support others so the same thing doesn't happen as much."

"Being transgender isn't really a choice," one straight respondent stated. "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."

Another student who doesn't identify as LGBTQ stated, "I don't think it really makes a difference — they're still the same as they were before, just more honest."

Chief executive of Just Like Us, Dominic Arnall, said:

"The last few years have shown an increase in tensions and hostility towards trans people – particularly trans young people. This research shows that thankfully, for the most part, the majority of young people are supportive of their trans peers…secondary school age young people are clearly incredibly supportive of trans people and would have no problem with a friend coming out as trans. 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."

via LGBTQ Nation