Our recent polling shows the public is increasingly supportive of providing individual liberty and inclusion for transgender Americans. While it’s still a new issue for many, as people get to know their transgender neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family, our data shows a majority of Americans believe we should apply the golden rule to all Americans and treat others as we would like to be treated. In fact, our recent polling found 90% agreement with the statement that protecting people from discrimination, including those who identify as gay or transgender, is about following the Golden Rule and treating others as we want to be treated.

The Basics

Transgender is a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the gender determined at birth. Gender identity is a person’s internal, personal sense of being male or female. For transgender people, their external gender determined at birth does not correspond to their own internal gender identity. The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates there are nearly 700,000 transgender people in the United States. (Source: Movement Advancement Project)

Being transgender is different than being lesbian, gay, or bisexual, which are terms that describe someone’s sexual orientation. Sexual orientation describes a person’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person, while gender identity describes a person’s internal personal sense of being male or female. Transgender people may be gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight, just like non-transgender people. (Source: GLAAD)

 The Issue

Many transgender Americans still face discrimination and violence on a daily basis. In 32 states, it’s legal to fire someone for being transgender. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey showed that 26% of trans people lost a job due to bias, 50% faced workplace harassment, 20% were evicted or denied housing, and 78% of trans students were harassed or assaulted. Read More.

In 2016, state lawmakers across America introduced legislation that targeted transgender people for discrimination. This legislation primarily focused on forcing transgender Americans to use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate and not the gender in which they identify. According to new analysis by the Williams Institute, at least 300,000 transgender Americans could be affected by anti-transgender legislation.

There are now many examples of Republican leaders extending the golden rule to transgender Americans. Earlier this year, conservative GOP Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed a bill that would have made South Dakota the nation’s first state to dictate what bathrooms transgender students can use in public schools. In a veto statement, he said, “This bill broadly regulates in a manner that invites conflict and litigation, diverting energy and resources from the education of the children of this state.” Read More.

The Polls

Polls show a solid majority of Americans believe gay and transgender people should not face discrimination as they try to earn a living, hold a job, or be served by a business. Project Right Side’s most recent national poll shows that 75% of Americans (and 57% of Republicans) support federal legislation to protect LGBT Americans from workplace discrimination. (Just Win Strategies poll from 7/18/16).

In the summer of 2016, it became legal for transgender people to serve in our nation’s armed forces. A recent poll by Project Right Side shows that 65% of Americans support this change to Pentagon policy.

At Project Right Side, we believe standing up against discrimination is consistent with the conservative values of individual freedom and working hard to care for your family.