A large majority of Americans,
including a majority of Republicans, oppose anti-transgender bills
being debated in more than 30 state legislatures.
While the bills are being backed by
Republican-led state legislatures, a majority of Americans who
identify as Republican are opposed to such bills, a new PBS
NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll released Friday found.
The poll was conducted by the Marist
College Institute for Public Opinion.
“The parties are speaking to their
base people,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College
Institute for Public Opinion. “The Democratic coalition is more
diverse. It's broader. The Republicans are speaking to a much
narrower base, and that can put you against the overall public
opinion within those jurisdictions.”
Arkansas last week became the first
state to approve a law that limits transgender youth from accessing
gender-affirming medical care.
Sixty-six percent of adults said that
they are opposed to such bans, including 69 percent of Democrats and
70 percent of Republicans.
Lawmakers are also considering bills
that seek to bar transgender individuals from competing on sports
teams that align with their gender identity. Governors in Arkansas,
Mississippi, and Tennessee have all signed bills in recent weeks. In
South Dakota, the governor signed an executive order. And a law in
Idaho is currently on hold.
When asked, “Do you support or oppose
legislation that would prohibit transgender student athletes from
joining sports teams that match their gender identity?” a majority
of respondents (67%) said no. Opposition among Democrats is at 69
percent. Sixty-six percent of Republicans are opposed.
Lindsay Hecox, a 20-year-old student at
Boise State University and a transgender athlete, told PBS NewsHour
that such laws “other” transgender athletes.
“The legislation is basically being
used as fear mongering against trans people, and I think trans
athletes were an easy target,” Hecox
said. “They word it so that I'm othered and made different when
it doesn't need to be that way.”
When asked about the Equality Act, a
comprehensive LGBT protections bill currently before Congress,
Republicans are sharply opposed at 61 percent, while an overwhelming
majority (90%) of Democrats support the legislation.