Poll: Most Estonians against allowing a gender change without doctors’ consent 

Just fifteen per cent of Estonians believe it should be possible for to change their gender without doctors’ consent, a survey conducted by pollster Norstat for the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues indicates.

In the spring of this year, in the wake of social protection minister Signe Riisalo’s opinion on gender reassignment, a debate arose on whether it should be possible in Estonia to change one’s gender without the consent of a medical panel.

At the request of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Norstat asked citizens of Estonia for their opinion on this. In the context of events elsewhere in Europe, respondents were also asked for their opinion on whether men with a female gender identity should be able to participate in women’s beauty pageants. 

The question asked about gender reassignment and the consent of doctors was whether, in the opinion of the respondent, people in Estonia should have the right to change their gender without the consent of doctors? Fifteen per cent said “yes” or “rather yes,” 74 per cent said “rather no” or “no,” and 12 per cent couldn’t say.

Baltic Pride 2023 in Tallinn. Photo by Tiiu Heinsoo.

While doctors’ consent is considered necessary across all socio-demographic groups, responses from young people aged 18-24 differ somewhat from the average, with the highest proportion of those who do not consider doctors’ consent necessary. Among this group, 34 per cent think that gender change could be undertaken without doctors’ consent, versus 59 per cent who think it shouldn’t be allowed.

Most against biological men attending women’s beauty contests

The question asked about transgender participation in women’s beauty contests was whether men who are biologically male but consider themselves women should be able to participate in women’s beauty contests? Eight percent said “yes” or “rather yes,” 82 per cent said “rather no” or “no,” and 10 per cent couldn’t say.

Miss Trans Global 2020, Mela Franco Habijan. Photo by Miss Trans Global, shared under the Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.

As with the former question, the ratio of young people aged 18-24 who would allow transgender women to enter a pageant was higher than the average across demographics at 26 per cent, compared with 65 per cent who wouldn’t.

The online survey was conducted from 21 to 22 July 2023 by interviewing 1,004 respondents in total.

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