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What Do Americans Think About Trans Rights?

American Attitudes on Transgender-Related Policies

This election cycle, right-wing extremists have made the LGBTQ+ community broadly and the American trans community in particular a flashpoint. Framing the debate in the name of protecting children from LGBTQ+ people is an old, bigoted (and effective) tactic that creates a reliable social wedge issue in the American political ecosphere.

The movement for acceptance and inclusion has undoubtedly made significant strides in the last 20 years, with 71 percent of Americans supporting marriage equality, according to a recent Gallup poll

However, Republicans in 13 states have signed pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation into law, with another 23 states having introduced anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, according to Human Rights Campaign data.

Americans agree on certain policies regarding transgender people but not on others, notes the Pew Research Center.

Just 8 percent of Americans follow news about transgender bills introduced by states very closely or extremely closely, according to a survey conducted between May 16-22 among 10,188 U.S. adults. Two-thirds of people don’t follow the issue.

Take a closer look at how the public feels about some state policies affecting transgender Americans and how those views differ.

Trans Athletes in Competitive Sports

The messaging surrounding trans athletes has been particularly insidious and clearly effective, with 58 percent of Americans in favor of limiting transgender athletes to teams matching their birth sex.

On Bathroom Access

Almost 40 percent of Americans support requiring transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to the sex they were assigned at birth. It has been a hot topic in conservative areas for years. As a result of Title IX provisions, the Biden Department of Education has taken measures to protect the rights of transgender students.

Anti-discrimination laws

About 64 percent of Americans favor policies that protect transgender people from discrimination at work, in housing, and in public spaces, including restaurants and stores, with 37 percent strongly supporting such policies. Ten percent of the population opposes or strongly opposes these policies, while 25 percent neither supports nor opposes them.

No Care for Thee!

Forty-six percent of all respondents said they believe the government should make it illegal for health care professionals to help someone younger than 18 with medical care for gender transition.

Big Brother Is Coming for Moms and Dads

Alarmingly, tactics from Texas might be working. A minority of Americans, but still 37 percent, believe parents should be investigated for providing minors with assistance in getting gender-affirming medical care. 

ID for Me

About four out of 10 Americans feel people who do not identify as male or female should be able to choose other options on government documents, such as passports and driver’s licenses, than the traditional “male” and “female” options. A larger share of forms and online profiles that ask about a person’s gender is also viewed similarly (44 percent).

Gender-Affirming Care Insurance Coverage

Remarkably, only 27 percent of Americans support requiring health insurance companies to cover medical care for gender transitions. This number is shockingly low given that gender-affirming care, according to medical associations and experts worldwide, is essential health care.

But the Children!

Forty-one percent of Americans polled say that it should be illegal for public school districts to teach children about matters of gender identity in elementary school. Parents in conservative circles have been led to believe by opportunistic politicians that teachers are having in-depth and age-inappropriate conversations with children of all ages on taboo matters in certain circles of American society. Incredibly, this red herring has worked, and parents and school boards are taking action on an issue that is manufactured and not real.

Protecting Trans People in Public

While a majority of Americans believe that laws should protect transgender people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public spaces, at 64 percent support, that number could be much higher.

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