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ADDED ON: 08/01/2021

Trans rights divides political rivals, young and old in the United States

7/28/21 | Openly News

Americans are deeply divided over transgender rights, data released on Tuesday showed, with experts accusing politicians of exploiting clear differences along party lines to foment a culture war over the issue in recent years. Seven Republican U.S. states have barred trans competitors from girls’ school sports since Democrat President Joe Biden expressed support for trans rights on the campaign trail – taking a stand against the position of his predecessor. Donald Trump banned new trans personnel from joining the U.S. military in 2017. In a possible sign of greater awareness about transgender people, the number of respondents who said they personally knew someone trans rose to 42% from 37% in the previous 2017 poll by the Pew Research Center, a Washington D.C.-based think-tank. But despite the intense public debate in recent years, more than half of those surveyed said gender is determined solely by sex at birth, as opposed to transition – about the same proportion as four years ago. “The lack of significant change in attitudes towards transgender people is not surprising given the recent federal and current state policy environments,” said Kerith Conron, research head at LGBT+ think-tank the Williams Institute. Pew’s survey showed wide divisions along party lines. While 81% of Republicans said sex at birth determined whether someone was a man or a woman, just 34% of Democrats shared that view. “Framing and messaging by political elites has divided people more than they were divided, say, back in 2014 or 2015,” Don Haider-Markel, a political science professor at the University of Kansas, said by phone. “We’re in a period of backlash,” he said, warning of an apparent increase in transphobia and anti-trans violence.

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