Londoners less tolerant of gay or transgender children, polls reveals

Those in the North and Scotland are the most accepting of LGBT children

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Londoners significantly less likely to be accepting if their child came out as gay or transgender compared with the rest of the UK, a new study has revealed.

A senior member of a charity which supports parents with LGBT children said she is surprised by the findings.

A YouGov poll of 1,683 UK adults conducted for PinkNews showed that residents of the capital are over five times more likely to reject support for a gay child. This figure rose to a fifth when respondents were asked about the prospect of their child being transgender.

Unveiling a split in attitudes towards LGBT community across the UK, the poll showed that while those living in the North and Scotland were half as likely as Londoners to reject a child who identified as transgender, only one per cent of northerners would refuse to support a lesbian or gay child, with that figure rising to two per cent for Scots.

Highlighting how people are more tolerant of gay and lesbian people, 88 per cent of people in the UK said they would support a gay child, but only 67 per cent would feel the same about a transgender child.

And while only 22 Labour MPs voted against gay marriage in 2013, compared with 136 Tories, the poll found that 7 per cent of Labour voters said they would not support a gay child – compared to 6 per cent from UKIP, 3 per cent of Tory voters, and 1 per cent of Lib Dem voters.

Sue Allen, the chair of trustees for Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (Fflag) told The Independent that parents from London who have contacted her are generally "very supportive" of their children.

As young people are increasingly coming out a young age, parents often call Flagg because they want to understand how to support their children, whereas in the past Mrs Allen received calls from people saying they were devastated by their child's sexuality.

Mrs Allen added that attitudes have changed, but she understands why parents would be concerned by having a gay or transgender child as hate crime is "rife".

"Nobody knows how they’ll react when they’re told. Nobody knows until it's in front of you, those who said it won't bother them, I don’t believe that because to some degree everybody is affected. As a parent, you think of you child's welfare.  Homophobia is rife, and you wonder how their life is going to pan out.

"Young gay people need to feel validated by their parents. I always say that if your son or daughter says that today he or she feels gay, you have to believe them. What he’s telling you, to him it's real and true and you have to say 'that’s fine I believe you'."

The poll comes hard on the heels of a report released late last year by LGBT rights charity Stonewall, which showed that almost two-thirds of LGBT people in schools have experienced homophobic bullying. These incidents would be regarded as hate crimes had they occured off the playground.

The safety of LGBT adults was also put into question last year, when police data revealed that hate crimes motivated by homophobia and transphobia have significantly increased in London over the past year.