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Poll: Opposition to trans minors' health care, sports access hardening

Americans are increasingly opposed to allowing transgender minors access to gender-affirming health care and school athletics, according to new data.
Poll: Opposition to trans minors' health care, sports access hardening
Posted at 3:19 PM, May 05, 2023

Americans have grown increasingly opposed to allowing transgender minors access to gender-affirming health care and school athletics in recent years, according to a YouGov poll.

The survey results, provided to Scripps News, show that opposition to legislation that would "prohibit gender transition-related medical care for minors" fell 28 percentage points from 2021 to 2023. Opposition to laws that would ban transgender student athletes from "joining sports teams that match their gender identity" fell 32 percentage points over that same timespan.

Much of the opposition has been driven by Republicans. GOP opposition to the laws dropped from 70% in 2021 to just 24% in 2023. Opposition to permitting transgender students to participate in sports dropped from 66% to 22% over two years.

The changing attitudes come as transgender rights become a political flashpoint around the country. So far, more than a dozen states have passed laws banning gender-affirming medical care for minors; procedures can include hormones, puberty blockers, and, in rare cases, surgery.

SEE MORE: Transgender Rights: America's Divide

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Nikki Haley have also made trans issues a focal point of their White House bids. And researchers say increased attention from politicians, protests at statehouses, and high-profile transgender athletes have all contributed to shifting opinions.

But Republicans alone don’t account for the change. The surveys also show Democrats and independent voters have changed their thinking, though not as dramatically as Republicans. Democratic opposition to laws involving health care softened from 69% to 56%; independents' opposition fell 34 percentage points.

SEE MORE: Scripps News poll: Americans largely support restricting trans rights

Independent support for barring transgender athletes in in school sports rose from 28% in 2021 to 51%. 

Though polling on the issue of children’s transgender rights has been sparse until recently, YouGov compared its survey results with a PBS NewsHouse/NPR/Marist poll using the same questions to measure the change in time.  

Many Americans still have not made up their minds on the issue, signaling U.S. attitudes may continue to evolve. About one-in-five respondents said they are "not sure" on both the question of transgender minors' care and sports.  


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