Americans oppose allowing male to female transgender athletes to compete on girls' and women's sports teams by a margin of more than two-to-one, according to a new National Public Radio/Ipsos survey.
The poll of 1,028 U.S. adults found that 63 percent of Americans oppose "allowing transgender female student-athletes to compete on women's and girls' sports teams," according to the survey's wording. About one-third (24 percent) of adults support such a policy.
About four in 10 Americans (43 percent) say they are "strongly" opposed – more than four times as many who say they are "strongly" supportive.
Paul Bjork, 68, of Fort Smith, Ark., told NPR he opposes trans athletes in female sports.
"There's only a male/female, and to have a male compete in a female sport, it doesn't work. I mean, it's not fair for the woman," he said.
The survey revealed a political divide on the issue:
- Republican-identifying Americans oppose trans women in female sports, 88 to 4 percent.
- Independents oppose such a policy, 63 to 21 percent.
- Democrats are more split, with 41 percent opposing trans women in female sports but 46 percent supporting it.
Last month, the international organization that oversees swimming competitions approved new rules prohibiting biological males from competing in women's competitions if they have gone through male puberty.
The new policy by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) will prohibit swimmers such as the University of Pennsylvania's Lia Thomas from competing in international competitions – including the Olympics – and from being eligible for world records. Thomas, in March, became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA championship with a dominant performance in the women's 500-yard freestyle. Thomas previously swam for Penn as a man.
FINA cited studies showing that males have a "relative performance advantage over biological females."
"A biological female athlete cannot overcome that advantage through training or nutrition," FINA said.
The poll was conducted June 10-12.
Transgender Women Banned from Int’l Swimming Events: They Have a 'Performance Advantage,' Organization Rules
Photo courtesy: Vlad Vasnetsov/Pixabay
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.