As Alaskans await a final decision from the State Education Board on whether it will bar gender-confused biological males from competing in girls’ high school sports, a new poll shows American opinions on the issues are changing.
A new survey from Gallup shows that 69% of Americans now say that those who identify as transgender should only be permitted to compete on sports teams that conform with their biological sex, as determined at birth. That’s up from 62% in 2021.
Similarly, the May 1-24 poll found that just 26% of Americans endorse the idea of letting transgender athletes play on teams that do not match their biological sex. That’s down from 34% in 2021.
Support for letting biological males compete as girls, however, is now fizzling even among Democrats, Gallup found.
The issue has sparked widespread debate, both internationally and here in Alaska, with sports governing bodies and schools adopting conflicting policies.
Last week, the Alaska State Board of Education heard roughly two hours of public testimony in favor of a proposal to prohibit biological males who identify as female from competing against high school girl athletes. The board then unanimously voted on June 8 to move the proposal to a 30-day public comment period, after which it will make a final decision.
Currently, each Alaska school is allowed to make a “gender determination” regarding a student’s sex, which means gender-confused biological males who claim to be female have been allowed to compete against girls. Anchorage and Fairbanks are the two largest districts that allow this, while the Mat-Su expressly prohibits biological males from competing on all-girls teams.
The issue has also become a major political flashpoint, Gallup notes, with at least 20 U.S. states now prohibiting transgender athletes from competing against biological girls. The Republican-led U.S. House recently passed a national ban, which is not likely to make it through the Senate or past President Biden’s veto pen.
Support for letting biological males compete as girls, however, is fizzling even among Democrats, Gallup found.
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“The result of these changes is that Democrats are now divided on allowing transgender athletes to play on either male or female teams, while in 2021 more were in favor than opposed,” Gallup noted. “Large majorities of independents (67%) and Republicans (93%) remain opposed to giving transgender athletes a choice of competing on male or female teams.”
Political liberals are the “lone major subgroup showing majority (57%) support for allowing transgender athletes to choose which team to play on,” Gallup added.
The survey also asked about Americans’ more general views on being transgender. A majority, 55%, consider “changing one’s gender” to be more “morally wrong,” while 43% say it is “morally acceptable.” Those results are slightly less accepting than in 2021, when Gallup last asked the question – 51% thought changing one’s gender was morally wrong, and 46% morally acceptable.