New poll reveals opposition from trans athletes – but is it an outlier?

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A new Gallup poll shows a majority of respondents say trans athletes should compete under their birth sex – unlike some other polls and perhaps swayed by widespread anti-trans rhetoric.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said trans athletes should play on teams only for their sex assigned at birth, while 34% said they should be able to compete under their gender identity, and 4% have no opinion. Support for the sex at birth option was highest among Republicans, at 86 percent, while it had the support of 63 percent of independents. A majority of Democrats favored the option of gender identity – 55%.

The results, the Gallup Values ​​and Beliefs Survey, conducted from May 3 to 18, are at odds with some previous polls. A survey by Hart Research Associates for the human rights campaign in March initially found that 38% of respondents said trans athletes should be able to compete under their gender identity, 34% preferred sex at birth and 28% had no opinion.

With a little more information and the question posed differently, support for trans people has increased dramatically. The polling firm informed respondents, “Local schools, public athletic associations and the NCAA have already implemented policies that ensure a level playing field for all students while protecting transgender youth.” Then he asked them if they agreed or disagreed with the statement “Sport is important in the lives of young people. Transgender youth should be given the opportunity to participate in a way that is safe and comfortable for them. Seventy-three percent agreed.

In addition, an NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist poll in April found that 67% of those polled were opposed to legislation preventing trans athletes from competing under their gender identity, “without a significant division between the parties,” according to NPR.

“Based on years of Human Rights Campaign research and the recently released NPR / Marist poll, we believe the vast majority of Americans – including a majority of Republicans – oppose laws prohibiting transgender people from participating. to sports consistent with their gender. identity, ”said Wyatt Ronan, HRC press officer Avocado Wednesday.

“Giving too much weight to a single poll is not recommended given the inconsistent public polls on this issue, and much of the opposition here is superficial and based on a well-funded and deliberate disinformation campaign by equality opponents. Our research shows that a small amount of information on the issue dramatically increases support for transgender people’s participation in sports, and people are just starting to think about this issue. As with the fight for marriage equality and familiarity with same-sex couples, knowing a transgender person goes a long way in helping the public understand the importance of transgender rights and protections. We know we’re on the right side of history, a majority of the audience is already with us, and that majority will continue to grow in the months and years to come.

“All children win and are safer when everyone feels welcome and accepted as they are,” said Barbara Simon, GLAAD’s head of news and campaigns, in an email to The lawyer. “All major medical organizations have issued statements supporting transgender students’ access to sports, reaffirming how important it is for their physical well-being as well as for their socio-emotional growth. Trans children have been relentlessly attacked by anti-LGBTQ groups and lawmakers who have introduced over 100 bills targeting their private health care and participation in school activities. Whether adopted or not, trans youth and the general public hear negative messages about who belongs and misinformation about a threat that doesn’t exist.

“What people are reacting to here is just an absolute roadblock orchestrated by extremist anti-LGBT groups – the same ones that in 2004 caused many losses of marriage equality in the states,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said NBC News.

But there was a backlash to these losses, mostly in the form of state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, and support for marriage equality increased in the following years. Keisling expressed confidence that this will happen with athletic participation.

The issue of trans participation in school sports has been debated this year in many state legislatures. Supporters of trans-exclusive bills have presented the issue as the “protection” of women’s and women’s sports from trans women, who they say have an inherent and unfair advantage over their cisgender counterparts – which scientists and activists dispute. These bills were signed this year in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee and West Virginia, and last year in Idaho, where the measure is blocked due to a court challenge. The governor of South Dakota has issued executive orders to the same effect, while the governors of Kansas and North Dakota have vetoed the trans-exclusive sports bills.

On the positive side of trans equality, the Gallup survey revealed strong support for the right of trans people to openly serve in the military. One of the first acts of President Joe Biden in power was to lift the ban on their service put in place by Donald Trump. “Opinions on trans athlete policies and the right to open military service are slightly influenced by whether respondents know a transgender person personally,” Gallup reports. About one in three people report having a trans person in their life; half of people aged 18 to 29 have done so.

“If you look at the younger ones in terms of who knows a trans person, it’s really obvious here that we’re winning,” Keisling told NBC. On anti-trans views, she added, “Someday they will be in the dustbin of history.”

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