Most Americans Oppose Trump’s Transgender Military Ban
Another poll is out showing that Americans overwhelmingly oppose the President's decision to ban transgender troops from serving in the military.
A new poll indicates that the vast majority of Americans support allowing transgender Americans to serve openly in the military, providing yet more evidence that the Trump Administration’s policy in this area is out of step with reality and the mood of the country:
Support for allowing openly transgender people to serve in the military stands at 71 percent, according to a Gallup survey released Thursday.
More than half of veterans surveyed — 56 percent — support allowing transgender people to serve in the military, pollsters found. Support is higher among nonveterans, with 73 percent saying transgender people should be allowed to serve.
More women than men support allowing transgender people to serve, with 79 percent of women in favor and 64 percent of men.
Majorities of Americans of all ages approve of allowing transgender people to serve, according to the survey. Eighty-four percent of people ages 18-29 are in favor, compared to 73 percent for those 30-49 and 66 percent for those 50 and up.
Roughly one quarter — 26 percent — of respondents in the new poll oppose allowing transgender people to serve, and 2 percent have no opinion.
Pollsters discovered a partisan split, with 53 percent of Republicans opposed to allowing transgender people to serve, compared to just 11 percent of Democrats. Twenty percent of independents oppose allowing them to serve.
Looking deeper into the poll, the most significant thing one comes away with is the fact that self-identified Republicans are the only demographic group where a majority opposes allowing transgender Americans to serve openly in the military. Even among people who identify themselves as conservative, the poll finds that 50% of those surveyed say they support allowing transgender service members to openly serve while 47% say that they oppose such a policy. If nothing else, this is yet another demonstration of how far out of step Republicans are with the rest of the country on social issues. To be fair, the number in this Gallup survey is somewhat different from the results of another survey conducted earlier this year that found that support for transgender service members had increased among Republicans even though it was not a majority position. In that poll, support for the idea was at 47% compared to the 43% that the Gallup poll found.
These results are largely consistent with other recent polling about transgender rights and demonstrate that, slowly but surely, public attitudes about a phenomenon that until recently has been largely kept out of the public eye are changing. In many ways, this reflects the extent to which attitudes have changed on other social issues such as gay rights generally, marriage equality, and marijuana legalization. As with the changes in public attitudes about those issues, the changes in public opinion about these issues is coming at an exceedingly rapid pace. It’s not surprising, of course, that Republicans are the least likely to support transgender rights. We saw much the same thing with respect to other social issues that showed self-identified conservatives and Republicans out of step with the rest of the public. In time, though, even attitudes among those groups changed on gay rights, marriage equality, and marijuana legalization. I suspect we’ll see the same thing on this issue.
It took nearly thirty years after the Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia for polling to show that a majority of Americans to show majority acceptance of interracial marriage. It took roughly the same amount of time for Americans to become accepting of homosexuality in general. It took roughly twenty years, from the passage of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990s for public opinion to come around to support marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It took about the same amount of time for public attitudes to change on marijuana legalization. On this issue, though, it seems as though public opinion has changed rapidly in a very short period of time, although that could be a side effect of the increased acceptance of alternative lifestyles generally and LGBT rights in particular. Well, except if you’re a Republican that is.