WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 28, 2022) As the United States addresses issues of transgender rights and the broader landscape around gender identity continues to shift, the American public holds a complex set of views around these issues, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2022/06/28/americans-complex-views-on-gender-identity-and-transgender-issues/ .
Roughly eight in 10 U.S. adults say there is at least some discrimination against transgender people in our society, and a majority favor laws that would protect transgender individuals from discrimination in jobs, housing and public spaces. At the same time, 60% say a person's gender is determined by their sex assigned at birth, up from 56% in 2021 and 54% in 2017.
The public is divided over the extent to which our society has accepted people who are transgender: 38% say society has gone too far in accepting them, while a roughly equal share (36%) say society hasn't gone far enough. About one-in-four say things have been about right. Underscoring the public's ambivalence around these issues, even among those who see at least some discrimination against trans people, a majority (54%) say society has either gone too far or been about right in terms of acceptance.
Views on transgender issues vary by party and, to a lesser extent, by age. Democrats and those who lean to the Democratic Party are more than four times as likely as Republicans and Republican leaners to say a person's gender can be different from the sex they were assigned at birth (61% vs. 13%). And while half of adults younger than 30 say gender can differ from sex at birth, about four-in-ten of those ages 30 to 49 and about a third of those 50 and older say the same.
Readhttps://tinyurl.com/yyvkb537 for a Q&A on how and why the Center surveyed Americans about their views on gender identity, and click tinyurl.com/2p9xv6np for previous qualitative focus group findings on the experiences, challenges and hopes of transgender and nonbinary U.S. adults.
These are among the findings from a Pew Research Center survey of 10,188 U.S. adults conducted from May 16 to 22, 2022. Additional key findings from the report:
Nearly half of U.S. adults (47%) say it's extremely or very important to use a person's new name if they transition to a gender that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth and change their name. A smaller share (34%) say the same about using someone's new pronouns (such as "he" instead of "she"). A majority of Democrats (64%) compared with 28% of Republicans say it's at least very important to use someone's new name if they go through a gender transition and change their name. And while 51% of Democrats say it's extremely or very important to use someone's new pronouns, just 14% of Republicans say the same.
Many Americans express discomfort with the pace of change around issues of gender identity. Some 43% say views on issues related to people who are transgender or nonbinary are changing too quickly, while 26% say things aren't changing quickly enough and 28% say the pace of change is about right. Adults ages 65 and older are the most likely to say views on these issues are changing too quickly; conversely, those younger than 30 are the most likely to say they're not changing quickly enough.
More than four in 10 (44%) say forms and online profiles that ask about a person's gender should include options other than "male" and "female" for people who don't identify as either. Some 38% say the same about government documents such as passports and driver's licenses. Half of adults younger than 30 say government documents that ask about a person's gender should provide more than two gender options, compared with about four-in-ten or fewer among those in older age groups.
Democrats and Republicans who agree that a person's gender is determined by their sex at birth often have different views on transgender issues. A majority (61%) of Democrats but just 31% of Republicans who say a person's gender is determined by the sex they were assigned at birth say there is at least a fair amount of discrimination against transgender people in our society today. And while 62% of Democrats who say gender is determined by sex at birth say they would favor policies that protect trans individuals against discrimination, fewer than half of their Republican counterparts say the same.
Democrats' views on some transgender issues vary by age. Among Democrats younger than 30, about seven in 10 (72%) say someone can be a man or a woman even if that's different from the sex they were assigned at birth, and 66% say society hasn't gone far enough in accepting people who are transgender. Smaller majorities of Democrats 30 and older express these views.
About three-in-ten parents of K-12 students (29%) say at least one of their children has learned about people who are transgender or nonbinary from a teacher or another adult at their school. Similar shares across regions and in urban, suburban and rural areas say their children have learned about this in school, as do similar shares of Republican and Democratic parents. Views on whether it's good or bad that their children have or haven't learned about people who are trans or nonbinary at school vary by party and by children's age.
Read the full report: www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2022/06/28/americans-complex-views-on-gender-identity-and-transgender-issues/ .
Read a Q&A with lead author, Research Associate Anna Brown: www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/06/28/how-and-why-we-surveyed-americans-about-their-views-on-gender-identity/ .
Read focus group findings on the experiences, challenges and hopes of transgender and nonbinary U.S. adults
Methodology: www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2022/06/28/methodology .
Survey topline: www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2022/06/PSD_06.28.22_gender.identity.topline.pdf .
For more information or to arrange an interview with the study's authors, please contact Julia O'Hanlon at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. Subscribe to our email newsletters or follow us on social media.