Americans Conflicted Over What Bathrooms Transgenders Should Use

REUTERS/David Mercado

Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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As the contentious public debate surrounding transgender bathrooms rolls on, Americans are completely torn over which bathrooms transgender people should use, according to a Pew Research poll released Monday.

The debate about transgender restrooms came to a head when North Carolina enacted a law in late March that forced citizens to use the restroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate. The law caused so much public backlash that the National Basketball Association relocated the All-Star game from Charlotte, N.C. in protest, ESPN reports.

For a group that takes up just 0.6 percent of the U.S. adult population, transgender Americans have a lot of people thinking hard on the subject of public restrooms.

Just over half of U.S. adults, 51 percent, feel that transgender people should use the public restroom of the gender they identify with and not the one they were given at birth, according to the poll.

Yet nearly half of U.S. adults took the complete opposite stance, some 46 percent of American adults think transgender people should only use the restroom of the gender on their birth certificate.

The division on the transgender issue is prevalent when accounting for race, religion, age, gender, and political affiliation.

Seventy-five percent of those who regularly attend religious services, especially white evangelicals, report that transgender people should use the restroom of the gender they were born into. This view holds true among all races and genders who report regular church attendance, with 60 percent espousing a view aligned with the North Carolina law.

Of those who do not report regular church attendance, 57 percent say transgender folks should use the bathroom of the gender of which they currently align.

Along the gender lines, women are more likely than men, at a rate of 55 percent to 45 percent, to take a more liberal view on the issue. Youth are far more likely than their elders to take a liberal view as well, the poll reports.

68 percent of Democrats hold a view starkly in contrast to the North Carolina bill, while just 30 percent of Republicans hold such a view.

Almost six out of ten Americans report they understand and sympathize with one side on the issue but only about 20 percent say they can sympathize with either side, according to the poll. The issue seems to remain as divisive today as it was when the North Carolina bill was passed six months ago.

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