A majority of Americans, including most young people, say they oppose the idea of transgender athletes playing on teams that correspond to their gender identity, according to a new Gallup survey.
The May poll of 1,016 adults found that most Americans support transgender military service but oppose the idea of letting biological boys play on girls' teams, or biological girls play on boys' teams.
More than six in 10 Americans (62 percent) say they believe transgender athletes should "play on teams that match their birth gender," while 34 percent say they should "play on teams that match their gender identity."
Multiple states are considering bills that would prohibit biological boys from playing on girls' teams. The movement gained momentum after the state of Connecticut allowed two transgender athletes – biological boys who identify as girls – to win a total of 15 girls' state track titles.
The Gallup poll found widespread opposition to the idea of boys playing on girls' teams. A majority of Republicans (86 percent) and independents (63 percent) say transgender athletes should "play on teams that match their birth gender," as do a significant minority (41 percent) of Democrats.
Every age group believes transgender athletes should "play on teams that match their birth gender," including 59 percent of Americans in the 18-29 age group – a demographic that's typically more liberal than other age groups on social issues. The 59 percent is slightly more than the 58 percent among those in the 50-64 age group.
Meanwhile, 66 percent of Americans say they favor "allowing openly transgender men and women to serve in the military." That percentage is down slightly from the 71 percent who answered that way in 2019.
"On one hand, strong majorities of Americans have supported transgender people's right to openly serve in the military," a Gallup analysis of the survey said. "... On the other hand, the increasing rate of trans-identification among U.S. youth is challenging norms in ways that many Americans are not ready to question. Americans were split in separate polls taken in 2016 and 2017 on restroom policies for transgender people.
"With policies for interscholastic sports teams now gaining traction in state legislatures," the Gallup analysis said, "the public leans against allowing these athletes to join teams of their gender identity."
Photo courtesy: Jonathan Chng/Unsplash
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.