Majority of Americans approve of trans and non-binary people living as they wish, survey finds

A polling station sign with the trans and Pride flags

The vast majority of Americans approve of transgender and non-binary people living as they wish, research has shown.

A nationwide poll for the Los Angeles Times, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, updated results from a survey first put into the field almost 40 year ago. 

Results from the latest research, which surveyed 1,624 adults, showed positive shifts in attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community. 

In 1985, only 24 per cent of respondents admitted personally knowing someone who had come out as gay or lesbian. Today, the figure has risen to 72 per cent, while 27 per cent said they knew someone who was transgender or non-binary. 

And, whereas in the past 72 per cent said sexual relations between adults of the same sex were always or almost always wrong, that figure has now dropped to 28 per cent. In 1985, 64 per cent said as parents they would be very upset if their child was gay or lesbian. Today, 14 per cent think that.

The majority of Americans approve of the LGBTQ+ community

Meanwhile, 80 per cent of Americans said they somewhat or strongly approve of gay and lesbian people living as they wish. Sixty-seven per cent said the same about trans and non-binary people. 

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But voting patterns told a much deeper story.

Seventy-six per cent of those who vote Democrat said the influence LGBTQ+ have had on society was somewhat or very positive, but 77 per cent of Republicans said the influence was somewhat or very negative. 

Republicans were also less likely to support transgender and non-binary people living as they wish or receiving employment protection. 

Asked about adults, two-thirds of Americans would support laws that protected the ability of transgender or non-binary people to receive gender-affirming care, the poll found. That number fell to 50 per cent when the poll asked about such care for transgender or non-binary children.

People don’t want to vote on the ‘trans debate’

Many Republican politicians have used anti-trans rhetoric in a bid to garner support, prompting trans healthcare expert Dr Marci Bowers to slam “reactionary [and] fear-based” attacks on the community.

Despite the attacks and ahead of the presidential election in November, 77 per cent of participants in the LA Times survey said issues related to trans and non-binary people were a distraction to more-pressing matters.

Similarly last year, a survey in the UK, ahead of the general election, revealed that trans rights would determine which box voters would put their cross in for just one per cent of the electorate. Britain goes to the polls on 4 July.

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