Majority of Americans Oppose Trans Athletes in Women’s Sport
(NewsNation) – Most Americans are opposed to transgender female athletes who participate in women’s sports at the professional, college and high school levels, according to a new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll released this week.
But you may not have heard of this survey. That’s because 80% of news outlets that have reported on the issue lean right, according to NewsNation partner Ground News, which monitors coverage based on media bias. Only a few “center” outlets and even fewer left-leaning outlets reported on the poll, according to Ground News’ Blindspot report.
The majority of survey respondents, 58%, said transgender female athletes should not be allowed to compete with women at the professional and college levels. By comparison, only 28% of those polled thought transgender women should be allowed to compete with biological women on these levels – and 15% of those polled said they had no opinion.
Opposition drops slightly when considering high school athletics, where 55% of respondents said transgender women should not be allowed to compete with women. Even fewer, 49%, thought the ban should apply to young people.
But an overwhelming majority of respondents, nearly 70%, said transgender girls would have a competitive advantage over other girls if they were allowed to participate in youth sports.
The debate around trans athletes and their eligibility has become a hot topic for policymakers in recent years.
In March, Lia Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship. Thomas, who swam her first three seasons on the men’s team before transitioning, was cleared to compete against women under NCAA rules.
The swimmer’s inclusion sparked controversy among many who argued she had an unfair physical advantage, including some of her own teammates.
Today, state legislatures across the country are passing bills preventing transgender students from participating in sports that match their gender identity. Last week, Louisiana became the 18th state to do so.
Supporters of the bans argue that transgender women have physical advantages due to biological factors such as higher testosterone levels and greater muscle mass, on average.
Others who oppose the bans say concerns about transgender athletes taking over women’s sports are overblown. They argue that trans athletes should be allowed to compete with the gender they identify with and that not allowing them to do so could further stigmatize trans people who are at higher risk for mental health issues.
Despite the fact that most Americans oppose transgender women participating in women’s sports, the survey found that overall support for transgender people has increased.
Among respondents, 40% said greater social acceptance of transgender people was good for society, compared to 25% who said it was bad – 35% said it was neither good nor bad for the society.
The survey was conducted online between May 4 and May 17, 2022 among a random national sample of 1,503 adults.