May 2, 2023

Is America turning completely transphobic? Not really!

The current onslaught on transgender people in the US is extreme and destructive, and it is easy to get the impression that most Americans have become rabid transphobes. That is in no way the case, something trans people and their friends should keep in mind.

Fox News is in not a source of fact based balanced information. The fact that they finally have sacked Tucker Carlson does not change that. But the truth is that as far as opinion polls go, they are pretty reliable. 

On April 26 they published a poll that showed that for the most part the majority of Americans do not support the Republican "culture war."

When asked about  the most important issue facing the country today, only 1% answered "Wokeness/Transgender issues".  The fact that the survey saw wokeness and transgender issues as one and the same thing, says a lot about Fox, but the answer says even more about Americans.  Transgender people are not seen as a threat by most.

So what did Americans see as important? "Economy/Jobs" (24%),  obviously, followed by "Inflation/Cost of living" (16%) and "Gun control/Gun violence" (12%). 

As far as gun violence goes, this is not an answer in support of Republican politics. Far from it. American voters favor gun limits over arming citizens to reduce gun violence. 87% support requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers.

Many observers now argue that the Republican Party's obsession with "culture wars" will cost them dearly in the 2014 election. 

Targeting families with trans kids is seen as a major problem by Americans

60% of the respondents say that school boards banning books is a major problem. There is no call for censorship of LGBTQA books in schools.

57% say that "Families with transgender children being targets of political attacks" is a major problem. The number for Democrats is 69%, Republicans 43%. Let that sink in for a moment: 43% of Republican voters think the transphobia has gone to far.

It seems that Americans take the idea that parents have the right to protect their own children, trans or otherwise, more seriously than the Republicans pretend to be doing.

Mixed views of trans people 

This does not mean that a majority of Americans go all in on the transgender side. We have seen this in previous polls too. Americans tend to believe that trans people have the right to live their lives in peace and without harassment, but they are skeptical, for instance,  of transgender women's  competing in women's sports (57%). 

However, if we look at this from a glass half full perspective, this means that the Republicans have not managed to turn the argument against trans athletes into a broader support for full fledge anti-trans hate, which is good.

The fact that 48% say that "Overly accommodating transgender policies" is "a major problem" can be seen as serious challenge for trans people. It is.  On the other hand, 50% see this  as a minor problem or not a problem at all, which tells us – again– that a majority of Americans are not buying the Republican driven moral panic.

Last years's PRRI poll showed support for LGBTQ rights

It is worth noting that last year's PRRI poll showed that Americans’ support for key LGBTQ rights is still growing stronger.

According to that survey approximately eight in ten Americans (79%) favor laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing.

In states with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation pending, approximately two-thirds of people support expanding, not restricting LGBTQ+ rights.

Majorities of Republicans (65%), independents (82%), and Democrats (89%) favor nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.

Solid majorities of all religious groups (sic!) support laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination.


This merits repeating: A majority of Americans support trans people's right to live their lives as they see fit. A great majority of Americans do not buy the Republican war against "wokeness". 

The Republican war against trans and queer people is both destructive and immoral. The endless promotion of new transphobic laws may leave the impression that trans people are losing public support, but given the aggressiveness of the Republican warfare, the fact that a majority has not fallen for this fascist nonsense gives ground for hope.

See also: Americans’ Complex Views on Gender Identity and Transgender Issues

Photo: Vladimir Vladimirov


  1. You are correct Mr Molay the recent backlash is the bluster coming from a vocal minority. The war is lost but the biggest malcontents are not going to leave the battlefield without making as much noise as possible such is their panic at this loss. Most people are reasonable and not mean spirited enough to deny human rights

  2. The war against trans people is not limited to politicians. The war is also being fought from the pulpit of many churches. Just like the attitude towards gays and lesbians; how many people actually encounter gays and lesbians and trans people?

    1. Yes you are correct on this although not all clergy agrees with this

  3. Hey Jack, thank you for your article and observations. It feels good to know that we aren't as hated as those anti-trans (anti-gay, guns-rights, and MAGA, etc.) people wish their messages to appeal and build their base. It reminds me of what we witnessed in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, with the anti-Blacks, anti-farm workers, anti-gays and lesbians, etc... It's the same old playbook, so I think we can be confident that anti-trans messaging and feelings will also decay but it's nonetheless disturbing to be on the receiving end.

    I believe we're entering a time when we'll no longer need Transgender Day of Visibility. We are visible and yet those younger people will be less and less identifiably trans — which is a good thing for them.

    The hateful rhetoric will not end anytime soon, but it will steadily lose interest. There are so many other things to worry about such as Russia, China, and AI (which keeps me up at night).

    BTW, a typo you may wish to fix: "Many observers now argue that the Republican Party's obsession with "culture wars" will cost them dearly in the 2014 election." I believe you mean the 2024 election!

  4. The "war" against trans people is not a war against trans people at all. It is the rejection of the sexism that is a fundamental part of the very concepts of gender and gender identity itself. Let's face it, Jack. Isn't it funny that all the things that you believe that makes a transwoman different from a man are in fact basically nothing more than just other ways of how a man can be? Think about it. For you to claim that what a transwoman thinks and feels, SOMEHOW, makes her something different from a man, means by its very nature that you're actually claiming that a man is incapable of having those thoughts and feelings. We have a word for this kind of reasoning. Sexism. Plain and simple.

    1. I always find it telling when one comments as so knowing and signs their comment as "Anonymous."

      I see how some — ignorant — people may think that trans people (men and women) are sexist although normally that term is used for those who fight against equal rights and opportunities for both women and men.

      Gender dysphoria is entirely different. For those who don't or haven't experience it... it may be so far removed from their experience and consciousness as to be unbelievable.

      I offer that it's similar to sexuality which is much easier to grasp. Although a heterosexual person may not understand how someone could be attracted to another of the same sex, hey, whatever turns you on, right?

      Not that being a trans person is turned on (at all) by being trans. Gender identity is 100% orthogonal to sexuality.

      Now, why am I such as expert? Well, I experienced gender dysphoria from my earliest memories, about 4 years of age. As I progressed through childhood and adulthood I kept hoping it would just go away. But after a couple of serious suicide attempts and much suicidal ideation, I started therapy in my late 50's, transitioned in my early 60's, and have never had such happiness and peace before in my life.

      You may reject all of this and possibly post a retort. Of course I cannot control you nor do I want to. I simply ask that you think with an open mind.

      Now, as to "war" against trans people: I don't see it as a war so much as yet another politically derived lever that many on the right are using to create an "us" vs. "them" to distinguish themselves, they hope. It's all so similar to the race debates in the 60's, the emergence of gays and lesbians in the 70's and 80's. I certainly remember TV ads trying to strike fear into men that a gay man might attack them in public restrooms. Did it ever happen? Probably? I mean, who knows, there are always some people who do very odd things. But I cannot remember any such occasion and I have no doubt that if it did it would be plastered all over Fox News and others.

    2. I'm not saying that you're sexist. What I'm saying is that the concepts of gender and gender identity traps people into sexist reasoning. The reason why this happens is because those concepts are at their core fundamentally contradictory. This will come very apparent in how you going to answer the following question: How can the things that you feel, think, say and do, whatever those things may be, actually convince you that you are not a man, when you know for an absolute fact that a man can think, feel, say and do ALL of those things?

    3. Hello Anonymous, and thank you for your question. It's a good one.

      Your question: "How can the things that you feel, think, say and do, whatever those things may be, actually convince you that you are not a man, when you know for an absolute fact that a man can think, feel, say and do ALL of those things?"

      Answer: I don't know, I really don't. We could ask the same question of trans men. I have personally asked what it feels like to know that one is non-binary. Honestly, I can't imagine what that feels like. And although I don't feel as if my gender is fluid or neither, I accept what they say, that they know they are not a man or a woman, gender-wise.

      I don't know if I'm truly a woman. How could I? What I do know and remember is the gender dysphoria I wrote about in my last response. It's undeniable, it just is.

      When I was a child I wondered if I had developed some bad habit when I'd fantasize about being a girl when I was in bed waiting for sleep. Try as I might to stop those dreams and wishes I just could not. And believe me please, I also tried to stop and/or manage my feelings away through young adulthood and throughout my life until I was in my late 50's.

      If you'd like to hear more of my story please listen to this (fabulously produced) 25-minute podcast, "How To be a Girl" Episode 30, which you'll find upon searching. Might give you some food for thought! And more questions!

    4. I'd like to add a little more about "how can I know I'm a woman?" I have a couple of things to add:
      1) I've had all of the surgeries, all of of the medications, and I've been living as a woman for going on six years. No more gender dysphoria, no more suicidal ideation. I've never felt more grounded and pleased in my life.

      2) Almost 100% of my friends are cisgender lesbians. I had a dozen over last Saturday for a birthday party for a friend who's also lesbian. They all treat me as one of the gang. I can tell I'm part of the tribe if you will. That doesn't mean I get along with every lesbian I meet. Of course, I don't gel with some and/or they have a hang up about me. I'm cool with that.

    5. Sorry, one more thing: do you not agree that there's all kinds of variability and uniqueness among humans? There're easy things like skin color, hair color, handedness, and tougher things like illness and propensity for illness. And then there's things like sexuality.

      We all know it takes a male's sperm and a female's egg (as well as much other) to create a zygote, and it seems logical that the human race favors procreation. And yet there are people who're sterile, who suffer soon or later for other diseases. And then there are the Einsteins, Beethovens, Orwells, Newtons, and Alan Turings who enable and make tremendous strides in understanding. All are unique; they could never tell anyone how they came to be what they were.

      So please stop trying to deny my reality. Whether you think about it as a birth defect or an incredible gift, I don't care. All I know is that I am what I am, and I am a very good person.

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  6. This in an interesting discussion where I see good points on both sides. Firstly transgender people are real as is gender dysphoria which at its highest levels must be addressed. At the same time I agree that sexism forms part of cultural obligations on people which forces men and women to behave according to very prescriptive limitations. Both things can be true and are not mutually exclusive.

    It would benefit us all to simply allow people the dignity of being who they are whether trans or not


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