Press Release: Seven in 10 oppose ‘gender-neutral’ toilets in schools, finds new poll

Oct 29, 2018

  • Fewer than one in three support embedding LGBT issues in primary schools
  • Four in 10 oppose ‘gender-neutral’ uniforms, while a third back them
  • Only a third back encouraging schools to celebrate Pride Month
  • Majority of parents do not think it is appropriate for schools to teach under 12s about abortion, sex acts and gay marriage

Seven in 10 oppose ‘gender-neutral’ toilets while just 14 per cent support them, according to a major poll from the Coalition for Marriage (C4M).

The survey of over 2,000 members of the public, including over 500 parents, found a high level of concern about encouraging gender-neutral toilets and uniforms and the Government’s policy of forcing schools to teach young children about LGBT issues.

When asked if they would in principle support or oppose “encouraging primary schools to replace separate boys and girls toilets with gender-neutral ones”, seven in 10 (69 per cent) said they opposed the policy, while just 14 per cent backed it. Interestingly these figures did not change when the same question was asked about gender-neutral toilets in secondary schools.

The poll, conducted by leading British polling company ComRes, questioned UK residents about their views on issues including divorce, marriage and transgenderism and the impact of these topics on schools, as well as the age appropriateness of teaching about areas such as staying safe online and drug abuse.

It found that four in 10 (44 per cent) oppose encouraging schools to replace traditional uniforms with gender-neutral uniforms, while one third (32 per cent) supported this.

Colin Hart, the Chairman of the Coalition for Marriage, commented: “This comprehensive poll finds the Government’s repeated attempts to water down the importance of marriage, introduce no-reason divorce and push through politically-motivated changes to schools, such as encouraging gender-neutral toilets and uniforms, along with embedding LGBT issues in the curriculum of primary schools, are not supported by a majority of the public, or parents.”

The poll found that fewer than one in three (28 per cent) support making LGBT issues integral to the curriculum in primary schools, while nearly a half (47 per cent) opposed the policy. Asked specifically, if they would in principle support or oppose “encouraging primary schools to hold LGBT focused events to mark Pride Month”, one quarter (26 per cent) supported, with 48 per cent opposing.

Worryingly for the Government, the poll found significant opposition towards many of these policies among Conservative voters. For example four in 10 (41 per cent) Tory voters oppose the requirement for all secondary schools to ensure pupils are taught that LGBT lifestyles are no different to heterosexual ones, while 37 per cent support it. This compared to just 20 per cent of Labour voters who oppose the policy and 17 per cent of Liberal Democrats. Around six in 10 Labour and Lib Dems back the policy, 58 per cent and 62 per cent respectively.

The survey concludes by asking parents when it is age appropriate to teach children about social issues such as abortion, the dangers of drugs and staying safe online.

It found strong support for teaching young children about preventing bullying, with four in 10 (39 per cent) saying this should start from the age of five and a further quarter (24 per cent) saying this should start at seven. 20 per cent thought the age of five was when schools should start educating about staying safe online. This leapt to 46 per cent by age seven and 76 per cent by 10.

There was support among parents to teach children aged 5-10 about the danger of drug abuse (41 per cent), dangers of alcohol (26 per cent) and what consent means (30 per cent). All three achieved majority support by the age of 12, with the dangers of drug abuse at 73 per cent, dangers of alcohol 62 per cent and what consent means 63 per cent.

The least popular areas to start teaching children aged 5-10 about in school included transgenderism (18 per cent), abortion (nine per cent), heterosexual sex acts (20 per cent), homosexual sex acts (13 per cent), STIs (17 per cent) and same-sex marriage (23 per cent).

Mr Hart concluded: “The clear conclusion that can be drawn from this poll is that the Government and schools should let children be children. The public and, importantly, parents do not support forcing young children to learn about sex acts, abortion, transgenderism and STIs. They feel these are topics that should wait until the children are older and at secondary school.

“Parents do however support practical help in tackling online abuse and preventing bullying. They recognise that these are the big issues that they need help with from the start and welcome the efforts of schools to address them.”

Notes to Editors:

The Coalition for Marriage is an umbrella group of individuals and organisations in the UK that support traditional marriage and opposed its redefinition. Launched in 2012, the Coalition has worked to protect freedom of conscience on marriage for its supporters.

ComRes interviewed 2,002 British adults aged 18+ online between 19th and 20th September 2018. Data were weighted to be representative of all British adults aged 18+ by age, gender and region. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables available here.