Most Americans believe transgender athletes should only play on teams that correspond to their birth sex, according to a new CBS News poll that mirrors an earlier Gallup survey.
The CBS News/YouGov poll of 2,073 U.S. adults found that 60 percent believe transgender athletes should only be "allowed to play on the team that matches the sex they were born as," while 40 percent say such athletes should be "allowed to play on the team that matches the gender they consider themselves to be."
Support for the traditional position is found among every age group, with 50 percent of adults under 30 and 52 percent of those 30-44 saying athletes should only play on teams that match their birth sex.
Republicans (85 percent) and independents (64 percent) support the traditional position on the issue, although Democrats do not. About one-third of Democrats (37 percent) say athletes should only play on teams that match their birth sex. A majority of Democrats (63 percent) say athletes should be allowed to compete according to their gender identity.
Multiple states have passed laws prohibiting biological boys from playing on girls' teams. In Connecticut, two biological boys who identify as girls won more than a dozen state track championships.
A Gallup survey in May found similar support for the traditional position. In that poll, 62 percent of U.S. adults said they believe transgender athletes should "play on teams that match their birth gender," while 34 percent said they should "play on teams that match their gender identity."
The issue has resulted in unusual coalitions, with tennis player Martina Navratilova – a lesbian – siding with conservatives on the issue. She wrote an article in 2019 for The Sunday Times arguing it's not fair to allow biological males to compete alongside females. A man, she wrote, "builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood" that women don't have.
Navratilova and a coalition of women's sports activists this year said they support most of the Biden administration's plans for the LGBT community but believe that allowing transgender girls and women who "have experienced all or part of male puberty" gives them an unfair advantage.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jacob Lund
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.