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New Poll Finds Majority of Americans Against Trans Athletes in Women’s Sports – The Hill

history at a glance


  • States across the country are passing laws banning transgender athletes from competing on women’s sports teams.

  • The results of a nationally representative US sample suggest that a majority of Americans agree with the bans.

  • The majority of survey participants were parents and self-identified as sports fans.

A spate of new legislation in Republican-controlled states has pushed the issue of transgender sports competitions to the forefront of national discussion.

Now, a new poll by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland found that a majority of Americans, 55 percent, oppose allowing transgender female athletes to compete with other women and girls in high school athletics. A larger proportion, 58 percent, expressed the same opinion at the collegiate and professional sports levels.

A total of 1,503 adults completed the survey between May 4 and May 17, 2022, representing a random sample of US households. The majority of respondents identified themselves as sports fans and were parents.

While 15 percent of respondents had no opinion on the issue, around 30 percent of Americans agree transgender athletes should be able to compete at any athletic level.

When it came to youth sports, the differences in opinion were somewhat smaller: 49 percent of those surveyed were against the participation of transgender athletes, 33 percent were in favor and 17 percent gave no opinion.


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Nearly 70 percent of respondents said they believe transgender girls would have a competitive advantage over other girls, with 30 percent saying no group would have an advantage.

However, a slim majority of respondents said they were concerned about the mental health of transgender athletes if they were not allowed to participate in youth sports.

The notion of supporting transgender people on their journey but having reservations about athletic competition is common, said Mark Hyman, director of UMD’s Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, which also helped conduct the survey.

“People are increasingly aware of the issue and sympathetic to the journey transgender people are on, but the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčthem competing against athletes who were born a certain gender lags behind,” Hyman told the Washington Post .

According to new data released this month by the UCLA Williams Institute, 43 percent of those who identify as transgender in the United States are teenagers and young adults.

Previous research has also shown that those who have a transgender family member or friend are more likely to support greater acceptance of the transgender community and to feel that it is good for society.

Opinion is sharply divided along party lines, with 64 percent of Democrats believing that greater social acceptance of transgender people is good for society, compared to just 14 percent of Republicans.

Published on June 14, 2022

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