Almost half of millennials believe deliberate misgendering should be a criminal offence, study finds

Activist holds trans flag on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on May 20, 2023 in San Salvador, El Salvador

Almost half (44 per cent) of young people in the US believe intentionally misgendering someone should be a criminal offence, a poll for Newsweek found. 

With Twitter now opting to freely permit misgendering and deadnaming within its hateful conduct policy under CEO Elon Musk, 44 per cent of those aged 25 to 34 believe “referring to someone by the wrong gender pronoun … should be a criminal offence”.

According to the survey, around a third (31 per cent) of Americans within the age group disagree that misgendering should be a crime, with the remainder saying they “neither agree nor disagree” or “don’t know”. 

Among those aged 35 to 44, over a third (38 per cent) think misgendering should be illegal. 

The poll of 1,500 eligible voters in the US found that millennials’ beliefs were in contrast with those of Americans as a whole, with 19 per cent of all Americans generally believing misgendering should be a criminal offence, and 65 per cent disagreeing.

The poll also asked Americans of all ages if they would intentionally misgender someone, with 17 per cent saying they would. Over a third (37 per cent) of Americans said they would refer to trans people by their correct pronouns, and 28 per cent said it “depends on the person”. 

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A teacher in the UK was indefinitely banned from the profession in May following a series of misconduct allegations including misgendering trans pupils, sharing views against same-sex marriage, and putting pupils at risk by talking about them on daytime TV.

Joshua Sutcliffe, 33, can no longer work in any English school after the ruling by the Teaching Regulation Agency. It was found that he misgendered a trans student in his class on multiple occasions. 

Following the ruling, Sutcliffe claimed: “I believe affirming children in gender confusion in the classroom is psychologically damaging for them. I refuse to go against my conscience and cause a child harm and refuse to apologise for that.”

Commenting on Sutcliffe’s case, Tory MP Nick Fletcher said: “I think we should take pronouns out of all schools.”

“Teaching unfact-based ideologies to children at school is not what we should be doing, and pronouns is part of that problem,” he added.

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