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Culture wars against trans people aren't winning votes - new research

Culture wars against trans people aren't winning votes - new research

Jamie Wareham
Jamie Wareham
TL;DR: Most so-called "culture war" tactics haven't worked and have failed to register in UK voter's minds as electoral issues – Trans rights especially. For some Conservative voters, however, the Home Secretary's relentless attacks on migrants has had an impact.

The public increasingly thinks politicians invent or exaggerate culture wars, in a report that also finds only 1% of people will vote in the next election based on trans issues.

The new research comes from the Policy Institute at King’s College London and Ipsos UK’s annual project tracking British attitudes.

Six in ten people (62%) now agree that politicians invent or exaggerate culture wars as a political tactic. That's up from around four in ten (44%) three years ago.

For the first time, the UK public believes this is a serious problem for our politics, society, and democracy. Just over half (52%) now hold this view, compared to 43% in 2020.

Crucially, over half (56%) of the public says politicians who talk about divisions over cultural issues are just trying to distract people from other important topics - Woke vs Anti Work Report

Despite widespread anti-trans rhetoric, it's not become a big voting issue

These so-called "culture war" issues, like trans rights and race relations, are low down the list of voters’ priorities at the next general election.

Just 1% of voters say trans rights will determine their vote in the general election. This is true even when you split the data between Labour and Conservative voters - PinkNews

Other matters, however, such as asylum seekers crossing the channel, are seen as potentially more significant, at least among potential Conservative voters. First and foremost, though, people will be voting on three of the most pressing crises the UK has faced: cost of living, the climate, and a crumbling NHS.

Analysis: Doubling down on distraction hasn't delivered at the polls

This report comes out in a week when the Conservative party is on the verge of another civil war. First up, Suella Braverman's comments on homeless people have left the PM having to decide whether to sack the homophobic and transphobic Home Secretary. They dropped the Conversion Therapy Ban from the King's Speech in fear of ultra-conservative Christian back-benchers.

And this all comes with a looming general election for which the party has said its campaign will focus on these so-called "culture wars". So, this report makes for stark reading.

It shows that attempts to divide the country using trans people haven't worked. Of course, it doesn't show the damage this careless and cruel tactic has had on an already vulnerable community.

As we head into Trans Awareness Week, which begins on Monday, there has never been a better time to reach out to your trans friends and siblings to let them know they're loved.

It's striking how similar Andrew Lumsden's story is with Gay News - and why I started QueerAF.

QueerAF began in response to an editor who told me to stop pitching 'gay stories' because there was no 'money' or 'audience' for them.

No one should be told their lives aren't worth telling a story about

I didn't understand this at the time, but one reason newsrooms create awful experiences as I faced, is because they are locked into a system. 

One that rewards stories that feed hungry divisive algorithms. All to serve enough ads to simply repeat the cycle over again.

It's stark, but not surprising - that I'm still told stories like mine and Andrews, regularly.

So many journalists have told me stories of pitching LGBTQIA+ articles only to be told they aren't "interesting", "worthwhile", or "click-worthy".

It's time to change that. Because, and as we show week in week out - our stories count.

We're here to do with our queer as f**k audacious project, but we need your support to truly banish stories like mine and Andrew's to the history books.

Join the community who are making that future possible today.