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Americans like trans soldiers more than they like Trump, poll finds

Americans like trans soldiers more than they like Trump, poll finds
FILE - In this June 26, 2016, file photo, a woman holds a rainbow flag during the NYC Pride Parade in New York. Photo: (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

A new YouGov Poll is out, conducted on behalf of The Economist, and what it shows should give hope to the LGBTQ community and make President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence nervous.

The wide-ranging poll asked 1,500 U.S. adults their feelings across a number of issues, including Trump’s handling of LGBTQ rights, and on that topic most are not impressed.

Trump was also rated unfavorably overall, with 52% reporting they view him very or somewhat unfavorably, and 41% reporting they view him very or somewhat favorably. 8% said they did not know.

As for Pence, 42% view him very or somewhat unfavorably, while 40% view him very or somewhat favorably, and 19% said they did not know.

On Transgender Soldiers

The Trump administration has done everything in its power to keep transgender people out of the military, despite four federal courts blocking their attempts. The most recent development saw the administration unveil a new ban that is just as constitutionally flawed and discriminatory, and was reportedly drawn up under the leadership of Pence, and alongside anti-LGBTQ activists Ryan Anderson and Tony Perkins.

According to the YouGov poll, most Americans are not in favor of the way this administration is going after transgender soldiers.

When asked, “Do you favor or oppose allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military?” 49% were in favor (31% strongly, 18% somewhat). 34% said they opposed letting transgender people serve openly (23% strongly, 11% somewhat), while 17% were unsure.

When asked specifically how they felt about Trump’s trans military ban, 48% said they disapprove (35% strongly, 13% somewhat), and only 34% approved (24% strongly and 10% somewhat). 18% were unsure.

“Do you think allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military has made military effectiveness better, worse, or not made much difference?” respondents were also asked.

Most, at 45%, answered they believed it “has not made much difference.” 26% said they believed it made military effectiveness worse, 10% said it made military effectiveness better, and 20% said they didn’t know.

On Gay Rights

48% of respondents said gay rights were important to them (23% said very, and 25% said somewhat), and 52% said they were not (24% saying they are not very important, and 28% saying they are unimportant).

Only 2% of those asked named it as their most important issue, although it did manage to beat out foreign policy (at 1%), and the war in Afghanistan (at 0%).

Still, most said they are not satisfied with Trump’s handling of gay rights. 44% said they disapprove of the job Trump is doing handling gay rights (35% strongly, 9% somewhat), compared to only 29% who are satisfied (12% strongly, 17% somewhat).

Related: 45 times the Trump administration attacked the LGBTQ community in its first year

The Trump administration has attempted to make it legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in the workplace, as well as in public businesses and accommodations, taking the stance that religious exemptions should take precedent over LGBTQ rights.

Visibility Matters

The YouGov poll also asked respondents if they knew someone personally who was transgender or gay (lumping all LGB people together, but that’s perhaps another post).

A whopping 71% said they knew someone who was gay (another 8% were unsure), and 23% said they knew someone who was transgender (with 9% saying they were unsure).

The fact that more of the LGBTQ community has felt comfortable coming out publicly means more people know us personally and have a harder time denying us rights. That’s why so much progress has been made, but as seen by our recent slide backwards it is clear that we still need to be out and open and loudly visible, now more than ever.

We also see that the majority of people still don’t know anyone who is transgender. As more trans and gender nonconforming people come out, and more of their allies come out as allies, it stands to reason that we will see an uptick in support for their rights.

Of course, that’s a hard ask when considered in conjunction with the crisis of anti-trans violence in this country, as well as abroad.

The fact that already most Americans are on the side of trans soldiers, and against Trump and Pence, shows how far we have come on this issue, and should leave the president and vice president shaken. They appear to be more out of touch than they realize.

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