OTTAWA, ON (February 2, 2023): New polling conducted on behalf of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute reveals significant findings regarding Canadians’ views on gender identity and prisons. By a wide margin, four times as many Canadians believe it is important to continue maintaining single-sex housing of prisoners in Canada’s prisons, segregating male-bodied inmates from female inmates, with only one-in-five Canadians deeming the policy to be unimportant.
Furthermore, whereas half of Canadians believe that male-bodied inmates who self-identify as women (MISIW) must be accommodated in some way, only less than one-third believe that they must be accommodated by being housed in female prisons. Slightly over 70 percent of Canadians do not believe that MISIW inmates should be housed with women.
The poll reveals a consistent agreement across regions, income and education levels; however, larger discrepancies can be noted across sex and generational lines, with Canadians 35 and older substantially more opposed to housing MISIW inmates with female inmates.
Additionally, amidst a growing debate in Canada and around the world over the best way to include transgender athletes without compromising the fairness of women’s sport, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute published a report on gender and sport, titled Fair Game: Biology, fairness and transgender athletes in women’s sport, in December 2021. The new polling reported here today is consistent with that earlier work, finding that over 80 percent of Canadians either opposed or were non-supportive of allowing male-bodied transgender athletes to compete in female sports categories.
“Canadians clearly believe that in both sport and prison accommodation, the interests of transgender people cannot trump the rights of women to safety and fairness,” says Aaron Wudrick, MLI’s Director of Domestic Policy. “The current policies of the government of Canada in both these cases fail this test.”
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