American views on transgender are changing

Americans’ views on transgender issues don’t always go one way or the other.

As another midterm election season begins, gender identity and transgender issues are drawing attention to the campaign trail. Some candidates are calling for restrictions on which teams trans athletes can compete on and what schools can teach about gender identityand one record number of transgender and non-binary candidates are candidates for public office.

Public views on these issues are more nuanced than one might expect, and they are changing. A recent Pew Research Center A study found that a growing share of American adults say a person’s sex is determined by the sex they were assigned at birth, even though more people say so now they personally know someone who is transgender.

The share of respondents who said sex is determined by sex at birth was lower in September 2017 and June 2021 than in May 2022: 54%, 56% and 60%, while the share who said that sex may be different from sex assigned at birth decreased respectively: 44%, 41% and 38%.

In surveys conducted in September 2017, June 2021 and May 2022, the share of respondents who said that sex is determined at birth increased steadily: 54%, 56% and 60%, while the share who said that the sex may be different from the sex assigned at birth. decreased accordingly: 44%, 41% and 38%.

It is perhaps unsurprising to anyone who has followed these debates closely that opinions on gender identity and transgender issues are widely shared. divided along party lines. More than 8 in 10 Republicans and people who are “leaning Republican” say that a person’s sex is determined by their sex at birth. In contrast, most Democrats and Democrats say that someone can be male or female even if it differs from their sex at birth. And while about two-thirds of Republicans say society has gone too far in accepting transgender people, a majority of Democrats say it hasn’t gone far enough in this regard.

These partisan gaps are also large — 30 percentage points or more — when it comes to opinions on specific policies, including proposals that have the approval of a majority of Americans overall. Eight in 10 Democrats — but only about half of Republicans — would support laws that would protect trans people from discrimination in jobs, housing and public places. And while 85% of Republicans voice support for laws that would require trans athletes to compete on teams that match the gender they were assigned at birth, only 37% of Democrats say the same.

Still, the survey reveals some diversity of opinion among supporters, especially Democrats. Beyond the differences we see by age—Democrats under 30 tend to hold more progressive views on trans issues than older Democrats—there are gaps across racial, ethnic, and educational criteria. . About 7 in 10 white Democrats say a person can be male or female even if it’s different from the sex they were assigned at birth; 61% of Asian Democrats, 54% of Hispanic Democrats and only 33% of Black Democrats agree. And while 70% of Democrats with a bachelor’s degree or higher say a person’s sex can be different from their sex at birth, a narrower majority of college-educated Democrats say the same, as does half of those with a high school diploma or less education. White Democrats and those with college degrees are also among the most likely to say society hasn’t gone far enough to accept transgender people.

Opinions are much more even among Republicans, but there are some differences, particularly by gender. For example, a greater proportion of Republican women than Republican men say they would support laws that would protect transgender people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public places. And while a majority of Republican men (65%) support policies that would investigate parents for child abuse if they help someone under 18 seek medical care for gender transition, about half of Republican women (52%) say the same; 16% of Republican women would oppose such policies, compared to 9% of Republican men.

As the national conversation on gender identity and transgender issues continues, on the campaign trail and beyond, it’s clear that Americans’ views on these issues are complex and don’t always fall squarely on one side. or the other.

Juliana Menasce Horowitz is Associate Director of Social Trends Research at the Pew Research Center. She wrote this for The Dallas Morning News.

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