Majority of Americans oppose oppressive anti-trans laws – but that’s not the whole picture

Protesters stand against anti-trans bills in USA

A new poll shows that while most Americans oppose anti-trans legislation, support for these repressive laws is growing. 

The poll from the US broadcasters NPR and PBS found that 54 per cent of US adults oppose anti-trans laws that criminalise the provision of gender-affirming healthcare to trans youth.

Respondents who identify as Democrats and independents had the highest percentages opposing – 68 per cent and 56 per cent respectively. 

However, 43 per cent of Americans now support legislation that criminalises gender-affirming care for young people – an increase of 15 per cent since April 2021, when the figure stood at 28 per cent. 

The research showed that white, evangelical Christians, Republicans and parents of children under 18 were most likely to be supportive of oppressive laws targeting the trans community. 

Jonah DeChants, senior research scientist at The Trevor Project, gave a statement to the PBS NewsHour says that doctors and parents should get to decide “which prescribed medications their trans young people need”, rather than politicians. 

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He continued: “It’s promising to see a majority of Americans oppose these dangerous, misguided bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender young people, at a time when we’re witnessing nonstop anti-trans political attacks and irresponsible news coverage across both mainstream and right-wing outlets.”

The rise in people supporting the criminalisation of gender-affirming healthcare comes in the wake of a tide of vicious anti-trans legislation sweeping the United States. 

To date, at least 10 US states, including Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Dakota, have passed bans that target the healthcare of trans youth. 

Despite the outcomes of numerous studies showing that gender-affirming care can save lives and treatment being endorsed by major medical medical associations as safe and effective, Republican lawmakers repeatedly push these bills.

In 2023 alone, a record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in the US, from bathroom bills that affect trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people, to sports bans and drag bans. 

Florida voted to expand the state’s repressive ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law on Friday (31 March), further tightening restrictions on how schools address LGBTQ+ topics. 

At the time of writing, only six states have not introduced anti-LGBTQ+ bills this legislative season. 

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