New polling data released by Gallup today shows significant polarization between liberals and conservatives over the issue of transgender bathrooms.
When asked whether an individual should use the bathroom that corresponds to their “birth gender” or their “gender identity,” 69 percent of self-described conservatives answered that it should be one’s birth gender, while 72 percent of liberals believed it should be one’s gender identity.
Women were also more likely to support bathroom choice based on gender identity, with 52 percent answering in favor of gender identity being the deciding factor in which restroom one should use. Forty percent of women said birth gender is more important.
Fifty-seven percent of men supported birth gender as the important factor in which bathroom one should use, while 38 percent said it should be gender identity.
The polling also asked about respondents’ views on the need for more civil rights laws to protect LGBT Americans. Seventy-six percent of self-described liberals answered that more laws are needed, while only 29% of conservatives said the same.
Additionally, only 37 percent of those who attend church weekly think more laws are needed, while 55% of those who attend church less regularly believe so.
Respondents split along racial lines as well. Fifty-eight percent of non-whites think more laws are needed to support LGBT civil rights, while only 48 percent of whites say the same.
Overall, recent polling indicates that 48 percent of Americans think bathrooms should fit one’s birth gender, while 45 percent think it should be gender identity.
This data comes at a time of great public debate over the issue.
In February, the Trump administration ended the guidelines for public schools that Obama put into effect, which told public schools to allow transgender students to use whatever bathroom corresponded with their gender identity.
The Trump admin’s decision to end the Obama-era guidelines does not necessarily mean school cannot base their bathroom policy on “gender identity,” as many pro-transgender advocates want. Instead, schools can make whatever choice they would like on their bathroom policy, whether it was in favor of one’s gender identity being decisive for bathroom use, or one’s birth gender being decisive.
In regards to the decision, education secretary Betsy DeVos said, “This is an issue best solved at the state and local level.”
DeVos added, “Schools, communities and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students.”
Additionally, the Trump administration still sought to protect LGBT students from bullying, specifically mentioning that LGBT students need to be protected by public schools.
And in March, the Supreme Court passed on the opportunity to take a case that dealt with the issue, instead passing down the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
The Supreme Court gave the case back to the Fourth Circuit because it was that court that originally relied on the Obama administration’s guidelines in their decision last year not to rehear the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who was born a girl but wanted to use the boy’s bathroom in his high school. The court’s decision not to rehear the case was considered to be a victory for the
The case was considered a win for Grimm and for pro-transgender forces, creating a precedent for gender identity being protected by Title IX, thus allowing trans people to use whatever bathroom they please.
The Supreme Court was set to hear the case, but after the Trump administration ended the Obama era guidelines, the case will go back to the Fourth Circuit.
The Supreme Court decision angered many parents of children they claim are transgender. In one case, parents of a 5-year-old “transgender girl,” told the Washington Post that the Supreme Court passing on the case “hit like a physical blow.”
Many on the right have expressed concern that any decision allowing transgender people to use bathrooms could lead to increased sexual misconduct in restrooms.
One example from Seattle saw a man undressing in a woman’s locker room. When he was confronted, he repeated that what he was doing was now legal, due to new laws in the state that base the right to use a bathroom depends on one’s “gender identity.”
Apparently, the man returned again when young girls were changing.
Nevertheless, Americans remain split in their positions regarding transgender bathroom use.