Just 19 percent of Republicans believe that a person’s gender can be different from the sex they were assigned at birth, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.
The survey finds that Americans are grossly divided along partisan lines as to their views on transgender people. Eight in 10 GOP voters say that a person’s anatomy determines their sex, whereas just 34 percent of Democrats believe a person is either innately male or female. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of liberals (64 percent) argue that gender is defined by a person’s self-determined identity.
Millennials were the most likely of any group to affirm the existence of trans people. A slim majority of people (50 percent) between the ages of 18 and 36 claimed that gender identity is a subjective feeling, while 49 percent claimed it was set in stone from birth.
No other age bracket was nearly as accepting of transgender identities. Interestingly enough, support for trans people was higher among Baby Boomers than Gen Xers. Forty-three percent of people between the ages of 53 and 71 claimed that gender is a mutable characteristic, as opposed to 41 percent of those who came the generation after them.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of the Silent Generation (those born between 1942 and 1928) said one’s sex is determined by birth.
Pew also polled Americans about their opinions on the recent advances in the public recognition of transgender people. Nearly a third of respondents (32 percent) claim that the U.S. has “gone too far” in affirming trans rights, a statistic that includes 57 percent of Republicans. Just 12 percent say that society has “not gone far enough.”
In contrast, four in 10 of those polled (39 percent) claim that the country still has work left to do.
Aside from party affiliation, Pew claims that there’s a major determining factor in an individual’s support for the trans community: whether they personally know a transgender person. Nearly three-quarters of respondents acquainted with a trans individual say that further gains must be made on transgender issues.
On a positive note, the survey finds that increasing numbers of Americans claim to have someone in their life who is trans.
Thirty-seven percent of respondents say that a friend, family member, or co-worker is transgenderwith millennials most likely to report that they know a transgender person. A little less than half (45 percent) of people between the ages of 18 and 36 have a trans acquaintance, compared with 36 percent of Gen Xers, 34 percent of Baby Boomers and 21 percent of the Silent Generation.
Just over a quarter (28 percent) of Republicans claim to know someone who is transgender, as opposed to 43 percent of Democrats.