NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll: Transgender Rights, April 2021

More than Six in Ten Support 2021 Equality Act

Many Americans support the 2021 Equality Act to expand civil rights laws to include the protection of sexual orientation and gender identity. They also are against state laws which prohibit or criminalize trans-related medical care for minors or legally prohibit transgender student athletes from joining sports teams that match their gender identity. Yet, Americans divide about allowing transgender students to play on sports teams that match their gender identity.

2021 Equality Act Support
Existing civil rights laws currently protect people from discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodation based on race, sex, religion, and other characteristics. The 2021 Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to these laws. Do you support or oppose the 2021 Equality Act?
Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted April 7th – April 13th, 2021, n=1266 MOE +/- 3.3%
  • 63% of Americans support the 2021 Equality Act. Democrats (90%) and independents (62%) are more likely than Republicans (32%) to do so. Residents under 45 (73%) are more likely than their older counterparts (55%) to support the expansion.

  • 66% of residents oppose state laws which propose prohibiting gender transition- related medical care for minors, and 65% oppose state laws which would criminalize providing this care.

  • 67% of residents oppose a proposed state law which would prohibit transgender student athletes from joining sports teams that match their gender identity.

  • There is bipartisan opposition to these proposed state laws.

Americans do not support state laws restricting transgender rights. However, Americans are not ready to fully embrace specific changes on the playing field. They divide about whether or not transgender students should be allowed to play on sports teams that match their gender identity: in grade school (50% should to 44% should not); middle school (49% should to 47% should not); in high school (47% should to 48% should not); college (49% should to 45% should not). On all of these questions, younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to say transgender students should be allowed to play on teams that match their gender identity.

“Most Americans support expanding civil rights laws to protect sexual orientation and gender identity, but along party lines, the issue is yet another culture clash facing the nation,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist Poll. “However, there is little appetite for using state laws to discriminate.”

A majority of Americans (52%) know someone who is transgender. 48% do not. Democrats (53%) and independents (61%) are more likely than Republicans (39%) to say they know someone who is transgender. Those under 45 (63%) are more likely than older residents (43%) to say the same.