Polling Shows Parents Oppose Transgender Athletes In Female School Sports

A new survey finds that the majority of adults feel that transgender athletes have an unfair advantage in female sports.

By Erika Hanson | Published

Judge Reverses Utah Law Banning Transgender Girls From Female Sports

transgender athletes

One of the most heated, contentious topics of concern this year has centered around transgender athletes and their participation in female sports. More than a dozen states now ban the participation, and much of the call for it this year originated from male-born NCAA women’s record-smashing champion swimmer, Lia Thomas. Now, a new survey claims that the majority of Americans see this as an unfair advantage, however, the poll’s entire story shows a lot of uncertainty around the topic as a whole. 

The transgender athlete survey was a joint effort conducted by The Washington Post and the University Of Maryland. Using a random sample of respondents from across the country, the conclusion is that most adults feel that transgender athletes have a competitive advantage over biological girls. 68% of those polled felt this way.

Despite nearly two-thirds of respondents feeling that transgender athletes have an unfair advantage, the sentiments about allowing them to continue participating on sports teams against their birth gender were split, depending on the age level. For college sports,  a little more than half (58%) feel participation should be banned. Just a bit lower at the high school level, 55% also feel this way.  At the youth level, fewer participants felt it should be banned, with less than half (49%) feeling this way. 

Despite the apparent culture war that has fueled the debate around transgender athletes, the results of the survey depict a nation that still overall supports the rights of transgender individuals — even if they feel they may have an unfair advantage in sports. Those polled were also questioned about whether or not they felt that banning these athletes from competing in girls or youth sports would have a harmful impact on their mental health. More than half (52%) answered that they were very, or at least somewhat concerned. On the other side, 48% said they were not too concerned, or even not at all worried about it having a negative impact. 

Furthermore, the poll discovered that acceptance of transgender athletes, and those who identify as such altogether, is actually quite torn. Only 40% responded that social acceptance is good for society. Contrarily, a quarter of Americans feel that being transgender is harming society. 35% were on the fence, saying that it was neither.  

Just like those that came before, this Washington Post national survey mirrors a torn nation in regards to the social rights of transgender athletes. Despite the divide, more and more states are showing staunch support to nip the practice in the bud, feeling that it could have long-lasting, damaging effects on female-born athletes. According to Fox News, 18 Republican states now ban cisgender athletes from competing on women’s sports teams, as Louisiana joined the effort last week. Still, many states have attempted to block the move, saying it is creating a problem out of something that doesn’t exist. 

transgender athletes

It is now apparent that the rights of transgender athletes are an important and contentious notion to many Americans. Because of this, there will likely be more debate, and possibly, more states next legislative session may look to join the growing movement to bar their participation in female sports. Like much else, only time now will tell if these moves prove successful, or possibly more harmful to youth.