Society problems

Americans divided by party on society’s impact on acceptance of transgender people

At a time when a growing share of American adults report knowing someone who is transgender, there is no public consensus on whether greater social acceptance of transgender people is good or bad for society. , according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted last July.

The question was asked as part of a larger survey of public opinions on a wide range of social and political issues, including whether different societal trends in the United States are generally good or bad for society.

About four in ten (38%) American adults say greater acceptance of transgender people is generally good for our society, while 32% say it’s bad and 29% say it’s neither good nor bad . There is a stark difference between Republicans and Democrats on this topic, and opinions also vary among some key demographics, including groups within each party.

A majority of Democrats and those leaning toward the Democratic Party (59%) say greater acceptance of transgender people is good for society, while a majority of Republicans and Republican leanings (54%) say it’s good for society. ‘is wrong for the society. Republicans are also slightly more likely than Democrats to say it’s neither good nor bad.

By ideology, the differences are even more dramatic. Three-quarters of liberal Democrats say greater acceptance of transgender people has been good for society. That compares to 45% of moderate or conservative Democrats, 27% of moderate or liberal Republicans, and just 8% of conservative Republicans. Meanwhile, 65% of conservative Republicans say accepting trans people has been bad for society, while just 6% of liberal Democrats say the same.

This analysis focuses on one question that was part of a longer battery of items about how the public assesses various societal trends. This particular item was intended to gauge whether Americans see the trend towards greater social acceptance of transgender people as good or bad for society. To do this, we surveyed 10,221 American adults from July 8-18, 2021. All of those who participated are members of the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel recruited by national sampling. random number of residential addresses. . In this way, almost all American adults have a chance of being selected. The survey is weighted to be representative of the adult US population by gender, race, ethnicity, party affiliation, education and other categories. Learn more about the ATP methodology.

Here are the questions used for the report, along with the answers, and its methodology.

This partisan gap is consistent with other findings about how the public perceives transgender people. For example, a 2017 survey showed that 64% of Democrats believed that whether a person is male or female may be different from sex at birth, while 80% of Republicans thought the exact opposite – that the Sex is determined by sex at birth.

A bar graph showing that there are large party gaps and some demographic differences in whether acceptance of transgender people is good or bad for society

Young adults, Asian Americans, those with a bachelor’s degree or more, and women tend to be more likely to say that social acceptance of transgender people is good for society. On the other side, white adults, older people, those without a high school diploma, and men tend to say that greater acceptance is bad for society.

Many of these differences remain or are further accentuated within each party. Republicans and GOP supporters in all major demographic groups are more likely to say that greater social acceptance of transgender people has been bad rather than good, but some groups are more likely to say this than others. A majority of Republicans 50 and older see it as bad for society, while about half of those under 50 say the same. Meanwhile, about three in 10 Republican adults under 30 say greater acceptance of transgender people is good for society, greater than the shares of older age groups who say the same.

A bar chart showing few Republicans say accepting transgender people is good for society

Republican men are more likely than Republican women to say that greater acceptance of trans people is bad for society, and white Republicans are more likely than Hispanic Republicans to say the same. (The sample sizes of Black and Asian Republicans are not large enough to analyze separately.)

White evangelical Protestant Republicans are much more likely to say that greater social acceptance of trans people is bad for society (71%) compared to non-evangelical white Protestant Republicans (48%) or white Catholic Republicans (51%). ).

Republicans who know a transgender person are less likely than those who don’t to say that greater acceptance of transgender people is bad for society (45% of those who know a transgender person, versus 60% of those who don’t know about it), and they’re more likely to say it’s good or neither good nor bad. Yet a plurality of those who know a trans person say greater acceptance is bad for society: 45% say this, while 37% say it’s neither good nor bad and 18% say it’s is good.

Democrats are pretty much the opposite mirror of Republicans. A majority – including similar shares of men and women – say greater acceptance of transgender people is generally a good thing. Much like among Republicans, younger Democrats are more positive on this issue, with 71% of 18-29 year olds saying they think it’s good for society, compared to six in 10 of 30-49 year olds and around the half of those aged 50 and over. Still, relatively small shares of Democrats across all age groups say greater acceptance of transgender people is bad for society.

A bar chart showing a majority of Democrats say greater acceptance of transgender people is good for society

About seven in 10 Democrats with at least a bachelor’s degree say accepting trans people has been good for society, compared with about six in 10 of those with some college experience and less than half of those with a college degree. high school or less.

Among Democrats, there is an interesting trend by race and ethnicity. While white adults overall are more likely than black, Hispanic, and Asian adults to say that greater acceptance of transgender people is bad for society, it’s quite different among Democrats. White Democrats, along with Asian Democrats, stand out as the most likely to say it’s good for society.

As is the case with Republicans, white evangelical Protestant Democrats – while leaning more towards saying it’s good for society than saying it’s bad – tend to be more negative about the greater acceptance of trans people (28% say it’s bad for society) than their white people. non-evangelical Protestant (10%) and white Catholic (13%) counterparts.

Democrats who know a trans person are more likely to say greater social acceptance is good (69% vs. 50% of those who don’t know a trans person) and less likely to say it’s bad (10% versus 16%) or neither. good nor bad (21% vs 33%).

Note: Here are the questions used for the report, along with the answers and its methodology.

Anna Brown is a research associate specializing in research on social and demographic trends at the Pew Research Center.