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Left-wing Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Support Restrictions on Gender Transition Procedures for Minors

May 8, 2023

Americans overwhelmingly oppose hormonal gender transition procedures for minors, according to a Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation (WaPo/KFF) poll publicized Friday. According to the published results, 68% of U.S. adults oppose children ages 10-14 having access to puberty blockers, and 58% oppose children ages 15-17 having access to hormonal treatments (which would include puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones). The surprising statistics come despite relentless cultural pressure promoting transgender ideology and opposing state legislation to protect children.

According to the same poll, two-thirds of adults did not want biological males to “compete in sports with other women and girls” at any level — youth (62%), high school (66%), college (65%), or professional (65%) — despite a biased question that framed the males as “trans women and girls.” Meanwhile, three quarters (77%) of total adults said it was inappropriate “for teachers to discuss trans identity in public schools with students” in kindergarten through 3rd grade, although that number decreased by grade level — 70% found it inappropriate in 4th-5th grade, 52% in 6th-8th grade, and 36% in 9th-12th grade.

At the same time, large majorities also supported “laws prohibiting discrimination against trans people” by medical professionals (71%), from getting health insurance (72%), in K-12 schools (69%), at colleges and universities (73%), at their jobs and workplaces (73%), in housing (74%), and in the U.S. military (65%). This apparent contradiction has two simultaneous implications. First, many Americans don’t believe policies protecting children and women (and perhaps consciences) from the unreality of transgender ideology are discrimination. Second, those who seek to implement the policy agenda of transgender ideology must retreat into such false generalizations to have a chance of legislative success.

Perhaps American resistance to pro-transgender propaganda is explained by the results of another survey question. When asked “whether someone is a man or a woman is determined by the sex they were assigned at birth,” 57% of adults said “yes,” including 20% of people who self-identified as “trans.”

The lengthy survey also contained other interesting results that undercut standard left-wing talking points.

From the media coverage, you’d think that health care providers were denying medical care of any variety Left and Right to people who identified as transgender. But according to these responses, 72% of “trans adults” said they “currently have a doctor or other health care provider” he or she can “feel comfortable seeking health care from,” compared to 79% of total adults. Only 17% of people who identified as transgender reported ever having been “refused health care” — which would include any health care provider refusing to assist in a gender transition. And twice as many people who identified as transgender (27%) knew their health insurance covered gender transition procedures, versus knowing their insurance did not cover them (14%) — 58% didn’t know.

From the media coverage, you’d also assume all people who identified as transgender have similar feelings, experiences, beliefs, and objectives (such as full gender transition), but that would be inaccurate. Only 30% of “trans adults” said they “physically present as a gender … different from the one assigned to you at birth” (yes, that’s horrifically slanted wording) “all of the time.” Another 20% “presented” as the opposite gender “most of the time,” while 34% presented as transgender “some of the time,” and 16% presented as the opposite gender “none of the time.” This raises the question, what really counts as transgender?

Apparently, there are no common denominators — at least physically. While approximately three-quarters of adults who identified as transgender changed their clothing (77%), hairstyle or grooming habits (76%), or pronouns (72%), only 57% used a different name, 38% pursued counseling, 31% took hormones, 24% legally changed their name, and 16% underwent surgery. Still, 12% of those who identified as trans in this survey did none of these eight things.

Weirder still were the demographics. Eighteen percent of adults who identified as transgender also identified as “a ‘born-again’ or evangelical Christian” (compared to 27% of total adults). Does “evangelical” have no meaning anymore? Twenty-six percent of adults who identified as transgender said they are married (compared to 49% of total adults), more than the 20% “living with a partner” — which seems a shockingly large number. Twenty-seven percent of people who identified as transgender said they are the parent or guardian of a minor in their household (compared to 26% of total adults). It seems ludicrous that a population subset actively pursuing treatments that result in sterilization would be as likely to have children in their homes as everyone else — but then 84% aren’t pursuing surgery, and 69% aren’t taking hormones, are they?

In other ways, the poll results were more expected. For instance, several questions established that people who now identify as transgender disproportionately had unhappy childhoods. Only 53% of “trans adults” described their childhood as very or somewhat happy, compared to 81% of total adults. In fact, 78% of “trans adults” experienced “serious mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety” as children (compared to 32% of total adults), 29% had “alcohol or drug use problems” as children (compared to 13% of total adults), and 18% had no friends they enjoyed spending time with (compared to 4% of total adults). Many of these struggles carried over into adulthood, with “trans adults” 20%-25% more likely to report feeling lonely, depressed, or anxious, and less likely to report feeling hopeful or happy, in the last 12 months.

Perhaps related to this unhappiness, adults who identify as transgender were also more prone to suspicion or worries about safety in childhood. Only 40% of “trans adults” said they had “a trusted adult to talk about personal issues” as a child or teenager, compared to 58% of total adults. As children, “trans adults” were more likely than total adults to feel unsafe at home (30% versus 14%), at school (45% versus 10%), in youth sports (25% versus 6%), at camp (25% versus 4%), and in religious gatherings (37% versus 6%). This attitude, too, persisted into adulthood. As of late 2022, 54% of “trans adults” were very or somewhat concerned about getting COVID-19 (compared to 38% of total adults). Adults who identify as transgender are also more likely than total adults to feel discriminated against frequently or sometimes, not only for their gender identity or sexual orientation, but also for their race or ethnicity (33% versus 26%) and income level or education (50% versus 24%).

Finally, it seems that at least a significant fraction of young adults who identify as transgender have major health struggles that significantly impact their ability to function in life, as shown by several variables. A shocking 17% of “trans adults” reported that their physical health was “not good” for 21-30 out of the past 30 days (compared to 9% of total adults), while only 52% of “trans adults” said their health was good for 25 or more days (compared to 70% of total adults). Adults who identify as transgender are also three times as likely (12%) to still be on their parents’ health insurance than total adults (4%).

Additionally, the distribution of the education levels for “trans adults” closely matched total adults with one major exception: 47% of “trans adults” achieved only some college (compared to 27% of total adults), while 15% of “trans adults” graduated college or higher (compared to 35% of total adults). While adults who identify as transgender do skew to the young side, it isn’t enough to explain these discrepancies. This seems to paint the picture of young people who begin college, but who drop out due to debilitating health issues and therefore remain on their parents’ insurance, even after their peers have graduated college, landed jobs, and obtained their own health insurance.

The WaPo/KFF poll was conducted from November 10-December 1, 2022, with results posted online on March 22. In their Friday report, The Washington Post does not explain why they waited more than a month before publicizing the results of this extensive (and therefore expensive poll). The only clue comes when they note that the data were collected “before state lawmakers introduced more than 400 anti-trans bills this year” — perhaps a heavily biased way to indicate that the report aims to respond to state momentum to protect children. The poll interviewed 515 adults who identify as “trans” and 823 adults who do not identify as trans, with each sample weighted to match national demographics, for a total of 1,338 respondents.

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.