News (USA)

Young people are a lot more accepting of transgender equality than older Americans

bathroom sign that says "We don't care."
Photo: AP

Young people are generally in favor of letting transgender people use the appropriate facilities, a survey found.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan that was just published in the Journal of Homosexuality found that 79% of young people (14- to 24-year-olds) surveyed believed that transgender people should be allowed to use whatever bathroom they’re more comfortable in.

Related: Watch these people intervene when a trans woman is prevented from using the bathroom

They asked 683 participants in their weekly “MyVoice” poll, which surveys young people throughout the U.S. but over-represents southeastern Michigan.

The poll found that young people had several reasons for supporting transgender bathroom access: that it’s a private decision, that access is about equality and human rights, that transgender people aren’t threats, and that forcing someone to use the wrong bathroom can put their safety at risk.

“Contrary to current policy in many schools, the young people we polled do not support restrictions on bathroom use by transgender people,” said the study’s lead author Halley Crissman, an obstetrician gynecologist at the University of Michigan’s Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.

The study shows that young people are much more accepting than the population in general. A Gallup poll from 2017 found that a plurality (48%) of Americans believe that transgender people should use the bathroom associated with their sex assigned at birth.

Crissman noted that public discourse on transgender rights often focuses on children, saying that kids will somehow be harmed if transgender people are treated fairly.

But this contrasts with what young people are actually saying.

“The adult dialogue we hear in the media often includes a lot of fear and guesswork about how this issue may impact children in schools,” she said. “We wanted to tap into the beliefs, experiences, and voices of youth surrounding current policies.”

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