New Pew Research Survey Gauges Transgender Acceptance
The goal of the published survey based on religious liberty vs. nondiscrimination was to gain insight on the public’s view of hot button issues such as employer provided birth control through insurance, same sex marriage and transgender restroom access. The survey was conducted from August 16th – September 12th 2016 with a total sample size of 4,538 people. For the purpose of this article we will be focusing on the transgender aspects of the survey.
Transgender Restroom Access – The survey found the public was slightly in favor of allowing transgender people access to restrooms that match their gender identity, voting 51% in favor of it while 46% said they should be required to use restrooms of the gender they were assigned at birth. 3% had no opinion on the issue.
Analyzing the data by religious and political associations, Evangelicals were the most against transgender restroom rights by a margin of 69%-27% while Jewish (73%-24%) and religiously unaffiliated people (70%-28%) were most in favor of transgender restroom rights. Republican and Republican leaning individuals we against transgender restroom rights by a margin of 67%-30% while Democrat and Democratic leaning individuals were in favor of them by a margin of 68%-29%. No data was given regarding people who were politically independent.
Though 87% of those surveyed were able to say they personally knew someone who is gay or lesbian, only 30% could say they personally knew someone who is transgender. For the 30% who do know a transgender person, their favorability of transgender restroom rights is 60%.
Where the data gets more interesting is when it is analyzed by age. Two thirds of people who are between 18-29 years old are in favor of transgender restroom rights, while the data is more evenly split between those who are 30+ years old. It also found people were evenly split on the issue when separated by race while women were more in favor of them compared to men.
Where the study falls flat is that out of the 4,538 people surveyed only 532 were between the ages 18-29. The other age categories in the study had more than double the participants. 1,254 participants were 30-49 years old, 1,436 were 50-64 years old and 1, 312 were age 65 and older. It could have ben more effective it if was done in controlled groups of each decade (20’s, 30’s, 40’s etc.) If the data accurately reflected all age groups, the percentage of overall acceptance would have been much higher based on the sample provided. The survey also only asked about transgender restroom access and not transgender rights as a whole.
The good news for the transgender community is that the survey shows a wider range of acceptance with the younger generation overall. The results also lend credence to the theory that normalization is a major key to acceptance in society. As the data shows, the more transgender people are known by others personally, the more accepted they would become.