Metro Weekly

Poll: Millennials overwhelmingly support trans bathroom use

Voters ages 18 to 35 say gender identity, not sex, should determine which restroom one uses

Gender neutral toilet sign at department of sociology, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo credit: Flinga, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Gender neutral toilet sign at department of sociology, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo credit: Flinga, via Wikimedia Commons.)

A recent poll shows that millennials are by and large supportive of the transgender community when it comes to their use of public restrooms.

By a 2-1 margin, millennials believe transgender individuals should be able to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity, rather than their biological sex as assigned at birth.

The poll, conducted by USA Today and Rock the Vote, shows that more than 3 in 5 millennials (aged 18 to 35) support allowing transgender people to make their decision based on their gender identity, with 28 percent who say they “somewhat agree” and 34 percent who strongly agree.

By contrast, less than a third of millennials agree with restricting restroom access based on biological sex at birth, with only 17 percent “strongly” agreeing.

The findings are in keeping with other information obtained in the poll. Among millennials, 53 percent describe themselves as “liberal” on social issues, while only 26 percent say they are “conservative.”

As with almost any other issue, there’s a split along partisan lines, with Donald Trump supporters favoring restricting transgender people to using the bathroom of their assigned sex at birth by a 55-41 margin, while supporters of Hillary Clinton say transgender people should use the bathroom of the gender they identify with by a 76-21 margin.

What’s propelling the overall margin to go up is that information from that same poll, which was released on Monday, showed Clinton leading Trump 56-20 among millennial voters in a two-way race, and 50-18 (with 11 and 4 percent, respectively, for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein) in a four-way race.

Conversely, opinions on transgender people’s bathroom usage are closely split among the wider electorate. A previous Reuters/Ipsos poll found that Americans overall are split, with 43 percent saying biological sex at birth should determine what restroom one uses, and 41 percent saying a person’s gender identity should. That same poll showed voters over 60 preferring biological sex at birth as the deciding factor in what restroom to use.

The results on transgender bathroom use do not bode well for future lawmakers who wish to pass laws like North Carolina’s HB 2, which places restrictions on the transgender community when it comes to public restrooms or changing facilities.

The issue of restroom usage is currently being litigated in the courts, with the federal government and the state of North Carolina locked in dueling lawsuits over HB 2, and two separate lawsuits — one brought by 13 states, and another by 10 other states — that are challenging the Obama administration’s guidance for schools on how to deal with transgender students. Part of that guidance calls for treating schoolchildren according to their gender identity, including access to restrooms and locker rooms.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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