Ireland is more accepting of transgender people in reality than people perceive it to be
With thousands of people participating in the Dublin Pride Parade today, new research released this week shows that Ireland is more accepting of transgender people in reality than people perceive it to be.
The theme of this year's parade, part of the annual Pride Festival, is 'We are Family'.
Connector, an innovation studio based in Dublin, carried out the research into gender and sexuality in Ireland which has resulted in some very interesting findings.
Sexual orientation - while 70% of those surveyed defined themselves as ‘completely heterosexual’, 23% of people defined their sexual orientation as neither completely straight nor completely gay, with 7% identifying as gay. This is much higher than most contemporary opinion polls with numbers from polls in the UK and Australia between 1.5% and 3.5%.
The number of people identifying as completely straight was fairly consistent across all age groups, with the exception of the 54+ age group with 89%.
Irish people are largely ignorant of ‘alternative’ sexualities; 40% could not define terms such as asexual, pansexual and cisgender, while 25% had never even heard the terms mentioned before.
Changing perceptions of gender expression; 12% of people know someone who uses non-gender binary pronouns with 22% reporting that they are more accepting of people of non-traditional gender identity than they were a year ago.
Ireland is more accepting of transgender people in reality than people perceive it to be; 40% thought that most Irish people are uncomfortable about transgender people using a public restroom but in actual fact, only 16% agreed that they would react negatively to a transgender person using the same bathroom as them.
Existing stigma around gender nonconformity; While Irish people are becoming more accepting of transgender people they are still struggling to come to terms with people who do not conform to gender norms, with 40% saying they would not start using gender-neutral pronouns even if it meant making another person more comfortable in public spaces. This survey finds that Irish people are still very much conditioned to a binary understanding of gender, based on biological sex.
People who know someone who is non-gender conforming are more likely to be prepared to use gender-neutral pronouns than people who do not: Of those who knew someone who uses non-gender binary pronouns, 89% said they would start using gender-neutral pronouns if it meant making another person more comfortable in public spaces. However, for those who did not know someone non-gender conforming, only 55% said they would be prepared to use gender-neutral pronouns.
Age, experiences and acceptance: There are a significant amount of Irish people (18%) who do not agree that people are exploring their identity more, who do not know anyone using non-traditional gender pronouns, who don’t consider it important for public spaces to have gender-neutral access, and who are not becoming more accepting of non-traditional gender identities. Most interestingly, age is a huge factor here with 28% of all 14-17-year-olds falling into this group, compared to 6% of all 45-54-year-olds and 12% of those who are 54 years or older. This gap suggests that people become more accepting as they get older and experience different situations and perspectives.
The research shows that people who define themselves as straight are more aware of alternative sexualities and more accepting of non-traditional gender identities if they have family or friends who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. People from the same group, who did not have LGBTQ+ friends or family were more ignorant and less accepting.
Commenting on the research, Ivan Adriel, Innovation & Strategy Director at Connector said: “Connector is a proud supporter of the LGBT community and we believe that creative innovators need to create work that reflects the society and push boundaries of the acceptance. Advertising is one of the strongest forces to challenge perceptions and we want this research to be an eye opener for marketers to become more inclusive”.