WASHINGTON, June 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — A new PRRI survey finds a majority of Texans have become more supportive of rights for transgender people in the last five years. By a nearly two-to-one margin, 59% of Texans say their support has grown during this time, compared to 29% who say they have grown more opposed. This is in line with national trends: 62% of Americans say they have become more supportive of rights for transgender people over the last five years, compared to just 25% who say they have grown more opposed.
“This broad and growing support for transgender rights demonstrates just how dramatically Texans attitudes have shifted across the last decade,” notes PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones. “This emerging consensus of support for transgender rights and increasing comfort with transgender people is a sign that we may be seeing the beginning of the end of transgender issues being used as political wedges.”
Support for Transgender People and Military Service
Despite the Trump Administration’s ban on transgender personnel joining or enlisting in the military not in their assigned sex at birth, the survey finds more than six in ten (63%) Texans support transgender military service, on par with national opinion numbers. More than six in ten (63%) Americans, including an increasing number of Republicans (47%), Americans who view Trump favorably (47%) and majorities of almost every major religious group, support transgender military service.
This support exists despite the fact that Texans are less likely to have close connections with transgender people than with gay, lesbian, or bisexual people than overall Americans. Just 28% of Texans report having a transgender close friend or family member. Almost half (42%) report having a bisexual close friend or family member and 63% report having a gay or lesbian close friend or family member.
Divisions Over Use of Public Accommodations by Transgender People
Texans increasingly support transgender rights, though attitudes toward so-called “bathroom bills” reveal that these beliefs are complex. Despite widespread support for transgender rights, Texans are still divided over “bathroom bills” that have appeared in recent years in state legislatures that would require transgender people to use bathrooms consistent with their sex assigned at birth. Some 44% of Texans favor these laws, with 44% opposed. This is in line with all Americans, as 45% of Americans favor these laws, with 47% opposed.
“We’re seeing Texans’ attitudes towards transgender people shift rapidly,” said Jones. “While the general trends are clearly toward more support for transgender rights, there remains some fluidity and uncertainty among some Texans as their general opinions and commitments get applied to specific policies.”
Support for Transgender People in Everyday Life
Texans’ support for transgender rights is reflected in their reported comfort levels with transgender Americans in their everyday lives as friends, teachers, and family members.
- Transgender friends: 62% of Texans say they would be somewhat or very comfortable having a close friend tell them they’re transgender.
- Transgender teachers: 61% of Texans say they would be somewhat or very comfortable learning that a teacher at their local elementary school is transgender.
- Transgender children: 46% of Texans say they would be somewhat or very comfortable with having a transgender child.
The survey was designed and conducted by PRRI. The survey was made possible by generous grants from the Arcus Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. Results of the survey were based on bilingual (Spanish and English) RDD telephone interviews conducted between April 9 and April 20, 2019, by professional interviewers under the direction of SSRS. Interviews were conducted among a random sample of 1,100 adults 18 years of age or older living in the United States (668 respondents were interviewed on a cell phone). The survey also over-sampled those living in Texas (150). The selection of respondents within households was accomplished by randomly requesting to speak with the youngest adult male or female currently living in the household.
PRRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy.