New research shows overwhelming support among Australians on trans equality

Equality Australia has released groundbreaking research showing overwhelming support among Australians for transgender Australians, including access to supportive schools and gender affirming healthcare.

A YouGov poll commissioned by Equality Australia in July 2020, with a representative sample of 1,026 Australians aged 18 years and over, found: 

  • 78% of Australians agree that trans people deserve the same rights and protections as other Australians (57% strongly agreeing).   
  • 66% of Australians agree that religious schools should not be able to fire someone or expel a student for being transgender.  
  • 66% of Australians agree that young people should be able to access healthcare that supports them to live as their true selves.  

“Everyone is entitled to access healthcare, education and the services they need with dignity and without discrimination. Our research again confirms Australians are fair-minded and decent, and overwhelmingly back equality for trans Australians,” said Equality Australia CEO, Anna Brown.  

Majority-plus support was reported across all demographics of gender, age and religiosity, with very little active opposition in the community to equal rights and protections for transgender Australians. The survey found 75% of religious people agree that transgender people deserve the same rights and protections as other Australians, while people who know someone who is transgender are the most supportive (93%).  

“It was really pleasing to see strong levels of support for trans people among people of faith, which stands in stark contrast to the concerted attacks on trans people by conservative Christian lobby groups,” said Brown.  

Transgender man and board member of Equality Australia, Ryan Phillips, is not surprised that people are more likely to be supportive if they have a trans person in their lives.  

“We know that getting to know someone who is trans makes all the difference to building understanding and support. This is being made easier as trans people have become more visible – whether as colleagues, family members or through participation in community life,” said Phillips.  

Despite the results, trans Australians continue to experience widespread discrimination in laws and institutions across the country:  

  • Federal, state and territory anti-discrimination laws allow faith-based schools to discriminate against students who are trans or gender diverse. 
  • There are critical gaps and barriers to accessing gender affirming healthcare, including stressful and intrusive court processes for some young people.  
  • Trans people in NSW, QLD and WA face invasive and inhumane barriers to accessing ID documents that reflect who they are.  

“Our political leaders can and must act now to address the discrimination faced by trans and gender diverse Australians,” said Brown.  

“While Australians overwhelming support equality, the Morrison Government has failed to deliver on its commitment to protect trans students in religious schools and One Nation NSW continues to attack teachers and school counsellors who support trans students, as the NSW Government and Opposition look on in silence,” added Brown. 

“Despite all the debates in social media and among some commentators, the broader community remains committed to supporting trans Australians to live fulfilling lives with dignity and respect,” concluded Phillips. 


Summary of key poll findings: 

  • Representative national sample of 1,026 Australians aged 18 years and over. 
  • 78% of Australians agree that trans people deserve the same rights and protections at other Australians, including 57% that strongly agree.  Support is stronger among those who are not religious (84%), but remains strong among the 4 in 10 who describe themselves as very or somewhat religious (75%).  Support is even stronger among the 1 in 10 who know a trans person well or have a trans family member (93%).  Only 7% of Australians actively disagree with this sentiment. 
  • 66% of Australians agree that religious schools should not be able to fire someone or expel a student for being transgender.  Support is stronger among women (71%) and the non-religious (74%), although remains strong among men (60%) and those who are very or somewhat religious (60%).  Only 16% actively disagreed with this sentiment.   
  • 66% of Australians agree that transgender young people should be able to access health care that supports them to live as their true selves.  Support is strong among women (71%) and the non-religious (71%), but remains strong among men (61%) and those who are very or somewhat religious (62%).  Only 15% of Australians disagreed with this sentiment.  
  • There is also strong support for the availability of health services for transgender patients (75%), the right to feel safe no matter the gender, how people dress or their name (77%), and not allowing doctors to refuse treatment, or ridicule, a patient who is transgender (78%).