Left-wing ideas about gender are increasingly out of touch with American people of all generations and backgrounds, according to a new poll by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI).
PRRI surveyed Americans across generations, political parties and religious affiliations about whether there are only two genders and measured the results next to 2021 data. About two-thirds of Americans, 65%, believe there are two genders, a 6% increase from 2021. Half of Americans feel strongly that there are only two genders, while 15% think there are only two genders but do not feel strongly about it, according to the poll. (RELATED: REPORT: Key Democratic Cohort Has Moved To The Right)
PRRI POLL: In the past several years, views have shifted on gender identities. (% who say there are only two genders)
2021 — 59%
2022 — 62%
2023 — 65%
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) June 8, 2023
Most notably, 57% of Generation Z (those born between 1995-2012) say there are two genders, up from 43% in 2021, and 60% of Millennials (1980-1994) believe in only two genders, a 9% increase from the 2021 data, PRRI found. Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Americans from the Silent Generation (1925-1945) believe there are two genders at 68% and 69%, respectively, about the same as in 2021.
At 71%, Generation X Americans (born 1965-1979) are the most supportive of the idea that there are only two genders, up from 65% in 2021, the poll found. The gender divides within each generation besides Millennials are significant, with men universally more likely to say there are two genders.
Parents are more supportive of the gender binary, as 70% say there are two genders, slightly higher than the 64% of non-parents who agree there is a gender binary, according to the poll. There is no significant racial divide on the gender binary, and all races had greater numbers of respondents who say they believe in two genders compared to the 2021 figures. Two-thirds of white and Hispanic Americans believe there are two genders, and 70% of black Americans and 53% of Asians agree with the idea of two genders.
Education affects people’s perceptions of gender, the poll found, as higher-educated Americans are less friendly to the notion of there only being two genders. In 2023, those with a college degree at 58% or a postgraduate degree at 53% are the least likely to agree with the gender binary. However, belief in the gender binary grew among both of these education demographics. (RELATED: Trans Activists, Anti-Child Castration Groups Draw Battle Lines Around Definition Of ‘Child Abuse’)
🚨 New data from our latest @PRRIpoll:
We’re seeing a lot of polarization and calcification of Americans’ views of gender identity: pic.twitter.com/WtV7wWCV2a
— Ian Huff (@Real_Ian_Huff) June 8, 2023
More than half of Americans, 62%, agree people spend too much time talking about gender and pronouns and 37% disagree, PRRI found. Older generations are more likely to think people are spending too much time talking about gender and pronouns, with 73% of the Silent Generation, 70% of Baby Boomers and 66% of Generation X saying so. A majority of Millennials, 54%, agree, and 48% of Generation Z say people discuss gender and pronouns too often.
Americans are more divided on pronoun usage and show varying levels of comfort with people who use “they/them” pronouns to identify themselves. A plurality of Americans, 40%, would be uncomfortable with a friend telling them to use “they/them” pronouns, and 35% say they would be somewhat or very comfortable, with 23% saying it does not matter either way, according to the poll. Similar figures exist for Americans who are told by a friend they used the wrong pronouns to identify them.
Nonetheless, less than half of Americans, 43%, believe young people are being peer-pressured into identifying as transgender, while 55% disagree, PRRI found. Similar numbers exist across generations, with Boomers at 48% the most likely to believe in the influence of peer pressure on the increase in transgender individuals. (RELATED: Growing Body Of Evidence Shows ‘Social Influence’ Is Causing Teens To Undergo Sex Changes)
PRRI finds that the discourse on the gender binary is highly polarized along partisan lines:
-90% of the GOP believe there are only two genders (87% in 2021)
-44% of Dems agree (38% in 2021)
-66% of Independents agree (60% in 2021)
More religious & generational splits below. pic.twitter.com/LQekjsqHb3
— PRRI (@PRRIpoll) June 8, 2023
PRRI polled Americans from various religious groups on the questions of gender identity, such as White evangelical Protestants, Latter-Day Saints, Hispanic Protestant, Hispanic Catholic, Black Protestant, other Protestant of color, White Catholic, White mainline Protestant, other non-Christian religion, Religiously unaffiliated and Jewish Americans.
Significant majorities of religious Americans of all stripes think there are only two genders, and majorities from each strongly believe so, the PRRI data shows. The greatest change over the past two years occurred with other Protestants of color and Hispanic Catholics. Two-thirds of Hispanic Catholics believe there are only two genders, an 18% spike compared to 2021. Other Protestants of color saw a 21% increase in support for the idea that there are only two genders, rising from 52% to 73% since 2021.
A slight majority of other non-Christians, 55%, said there are only two genders, 13% more than 2021, and 44% of Jewish Americans said so, virtually unchanged from 2021.
The demographic group least likely to agree with the gender binary are Americans who identify as transgender or have a family member or close friend who does, with 40% believing there are two genders. Among those who use “gender neutral” pronouns, 42% say there are two genders, according to the poll.
PRRI observed strong divisions between Republicans, independents and Democrats on the question of whether there are two genders. (RELATED: GOP 2024 Candidates Are United On One Thing: Opposing Sex Changes For Minors)
Nine-out-of-10 Republicans think there are two genders, compared to 66% of independents and 44% of Democrats. Agreement with the gender binary went up among all political orientations from 2021 to 2023, but less so for Republicans than independents and Democrats. Only 3% more Republicans agree with the gender binary, a smaller increase than the 6% more Democrats and 6% more independents respectively.
The survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 5,046 adults from all 50 states in addition to 392 recruits, who were used to strengthen the sample sizes from smaller states, according to PRRI. Interviews took place online from March 9 to 23, and the sample was adjusted based on demographic distribution to account for any non-response bias. The margin of error was 1.5% either way and the confidence level was 95%, PRRI noted.
“The definition of gender has become a high-profile and controversial topic in the public discourse in recent years, receiving significant conservative media attention,” PRRI CEO Melissa Deckman said in a press release.
“We’re seeing a hardening of position in support of a gender binary nationally, informed largely by partisanship and news consumption. It’s those who feel the most strongly about gender who are driving these conversations.”