Most Americans Oppose Trans Athletes Changing Teams, Gallup Poll Finds

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By J.J. Brannock
The Center Square

A study from Gallup published Monday, June 12 showed that 69 percent of surveyed Americans said transgender athletes “should only be allowed to compete on sports teams that conform with their birth gender.”

The poll shows a 7-percentage-point rise in Americans who say that transgender athletes should only play on teams that match their birth gender. It also shows an 11-percentage-point increase in those who personally know a transgender person, from 53 percent in 2021 to 64 percent in 2023.

The survey comes amid a wave of legislation across Republican-leaning states in recent years separating biologically male and female sports teams. For example, in Missouri, lawmakers recently passed Senate Bill 39, which subsequently became law and prohibits any private or public school from allowing any student to compete in an athletic competition “designated for the student’s opposite biological sex.”

The U.S. House of Representatives, which has a Republican majority, passed a bill on May 30 which would widely bar transgender athletes at public universities from competing in sports aligned with their new gender identity. President Joe Biden promised to veto the bill, though it is unlikely to get a vote in the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

According to the poll, Democrats are split on the issue, with 47 percent of Democrats in favor of trans athletes playing on the teams that match their identity and 48 percent against. Democrats’ views have shifted since 2021 when 55 percent were for and 41 percent were against.

Republicans’ opposition to allowing trans athletes to play on the team of their choice rose from 86 percent in 2021 to 93 percent in 2023, with independents shifting from 63 percent to 67 percent over the past two years.

The only subgroup more supportive of gender-matching teams for trans athletes is young adults, who increased in support from 35 percent to 41 percent.

The survey also asked about Americans’ general views on whether changing one’s gender was morally acceptable, which saw a smaller and more split vote of 51 percent saying it was morally wrong in 2021 compared to 55 percent in 2023.

The question divided the parties, with 84 percent of Republicans and 29 percent of Democrats saying it is morally wrong to change gender. Independents were split, with 50 percent saying it is wrong and 46 percent saying it is morally acceptable.


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