Experts warn Republicans’ trans obsession could backfire – especially with women voters

A person holds a sign reading 'Protect Trans People' as LGBTQ activists protest in Canada

A poll has found that a majority of American voters think there has been too much legislation limiting LGBTQ+ rights in recent years – and that includes Republicans.

Of the right-wing supporters who responded to the Data for Progress poll, 55 per cent agreed with the statement: “There is too much legislation. Politicians are playing political theatre and using these bills as a wedge issue.”

And more than half (54 per cent) of Republicans agreed that transgender adults “should be allowed to change their bodies however they want”. 

The findings were not all positive, however, with 62 per cent of Republicans believing that increased transgender visibility in society “represents a threat” to children.

Data for Progress explained that severe legislation being introduced in America, including bans on drag shows and limits to gender-affirming care, doesn’t resonate with the average person and could be off-putting even for the right wing of society.

“This polling finds that voters across all political parties see the Republican attempt to flood state legislatures with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation as political theatre,” Erin Thomas, from Data for Progress, told Roll Call.

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“It also shows that the ideas espoused by today’s loudest anti-trans advocates – that trans people threaten children and that our identities are a ‘woke’ invention – don’t resonate with the average voter.”

Charles Moran, the president of LGBTQ+ group Log Cabin Republicans, warned that his party should “tread lightly” on queer issues to avoid putting off voters, particularly women.

“My prescription to the GOP [Grand Old Party] would be: tread very lightly on these issues, particularly as it deals with outreach to women,” he said.

“Women… don’t want to see people in society being picked on or marginalised.”

Protesters stand against anti-trans bills in USA
Data for Progress counted 429 bills currently being passed through state legislatures aimed at limiting trans lives in America. (Getty)

A previous Data for Progress poll from 2022 found that an overwhelming majority of US voters (88 per cent of Democrats and 86 per cent of Republicans) thought that the US government should not “have a say in personal matters like a person’s sexual preference or gender identity”.

Data for Progress claimed in its polling that 429 bills are currently passing through state legislators across America with the aim of limiting trans lives, through banning gender-affirming care for young people, limiting trans people’s participation in sports, and not allowing trans people to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.

At present, 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.

Actor Tommy Dorfman recently criticised the wave of bills, warning that trans people are being threatened with eradication in the US.

“All signs are pointing to a very specific type of targeted eradication of an entire part of humanity in this country, if these people get their way, and that starts with denying medical and health care that is necessary for survival for trans people,” the 13 Reasons Why star told British Vogue.

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