New poll finds 51 percent of Americans are opposed to transgender athletes taking part in women's sports
People's take on the transgenders' sporting rights has been found to be contradictory to their social rights, like serving in the military.
Transgender athletes might be making headlines in recent years because of their good performances in women’s sports but not many Americans are endorsing it. According to a poll released by Rasmussen Reports on November 8, as high as 51 percent of American adults who were surveyed were against the idea of allowing the athletes to compete on the basis of gender identity, including biological males who take part in women’s and girls’ sports.
Only 29 percent backed the idea of allowing transgender students to join the teams of the gender they identify with, as per the survey which was carried out online and over the national telephone. Twenty percent of the respondents remained undecided. The findings of the latest poll, which was done between October 31 and November 2, were virtually identical to those of the survey that was carried out in June. It showed that only 28 percent of Americans favored transgender students taking part in the sports teams of the gender they identify with. Fifty-four percent were opposed.
Transgenders' sporting rights taken differently than social rights
The Americans' take on transgenders-related sports issues has been found to be contradictory to that on other social issues like their rights.
In June, a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) showed that 62 percent of the people of the country supported the idea of transgender rights’ over the last five years. Also, as per a Gallup poll that was conducted between May 15 and 30, 71 percent of US adults were found to be supportive of the idea of transgender people serving in the military. Even 51 percent of people backed the transgender people using public facilities that correspond to birth gender. In relation to the Donald Trump administration’s decision to revoke the decision taken by the previous one to allow transgender students to use toilets matching their gender identities, only 28 percent believed that the federal government had any business in setting up bathroom policies in elementary and secondary schools, said another Rasmussen Reports survey.
But when it comes to the sporting arena, the transgenders find the situation less favorable. According to reports, while the advocates of LGBTQ rights cheer transgender athletes competing based on gender identity, critics feel it is not fair as it gives an undue advantage to the biological males.
Controversy snowballed after girls failed to compete with transgender born male
The matter snowballed into a controversy when a Connecticut high school student Seline Soule failed to qualify for the New England regionals after losing a race to two opponents who were biological males but identified as girls. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative body, filed a federal complaint on Soule’s behalf. Besides Soule who is a senior from Broomfield, Alanna Smith, a sophomore from Danbury, also approached the ADF to take up the cause.
“In fact, one of the athletes who displaced Soule previously competed against other male athletes in the winter 2018 season and failed to advance in boys’ indoor track events. It wasn’t until that athlete began competing in girls’ events during the 2018 spring season that the dominance began. This biological male now holds more than 10 records within the state of Connecticut that once belonged to 10 different girls,” the ADF said.
The matter has also seen some strong political debate. In May, House Democrats approved the Equality Act seeking a ban on discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation even as the Republicans opposed it, saying it would only hit the women’s chances of taking part in competitive sporting activities.
Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, also a member of the ‘Squad’, is of the viewpoint that transgender athletes do not enjoy an automatic advantage in women’s sports.
In a letter dated January 31, she said over the issue of transgender powerlifter JayCee Cooper getting excluded from the women’s events: “The myth that trans women have a ‘direct competitive advantage’ is not supported by medical science, and it continues to stoke fear and violence against one of the most at-risk communities in the world.”
I have requested an investigation into @USAPowerlifting's discrimination against a member of the Minnesota trans community. Respect for human rights includes protections for our trans brothers and sisters. pic.twitter.com/3ou4FsSozA— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) February 5, 2019
Former tennis player Martina Navratilova, who is openly a lesbian and a strong supporter of gay rights, however, feels that allowing transgender athletes in women’s sports is nothing but “cheating”. In an op-ed she penned in the Sunday Times, UK, in February, the 63-year-old said: “It’s insane and it’s cheating,” she said in the [U.K.] Sunday Times. “I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.”