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Only 57 Percent of U.S. Adults Believe Gender is Determined at Birth

Fifty-seven percent of U.S. adults believe a person’s gender is determined at birth, according to a Washington Post-KFF poll released Friday.

Additionally, 65% say transgender women and girls should not be allowed to compete in professional or collegiate sports with other women and girls, while 66% said the same of high school sports and 62% of youth sports.

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As transgender people have increasingly gained visibility, conservative lawmakers have zeroed in on making legal distinctions to keep long-established lines from blurring: keeping transgender children off girls’ sports teams and out of certain bathrooms and blocking them from receiving gender-transitioning medical care.

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In response, a growing number of Democratic-controlled states have moved to protect such rights, especially access to gender care.

The push by conservatives has mushroomed over the past few years and become, alongside abortion, a major theme running through legislative sessions across the country in 2023.

Six states have laws or policies in effect barring minors from receiving puberty blockers or hormone therapy. Similar provisions have been adopted but paused by courts in three more. They’ve been signed into law but haven’t yet taken effect in at least eight more.

The WashPost/KFF poll, conducted Nov. 10-Dec. 1, 2022, among 1,338 adults (515 who identified as transgender and another 823 cisgender who do not identify as transgender and their gender is the same as their sex assigned at birth) also found:

  • 62% of adults supported so-called “gender-affirming counseling or therapy” for kids ages 10 to 14, but 68% were against giving the age group puberty blockers.
  • For transgender teens age 15 to 17, 66% of adults supported “gender-affirming counseling or therapy” but 58% were still opposed to prescribing puberty blocker medications.
  • 77% of adults believe it is inappropriate for teachers to discuss their transgender identities with students in K-3rd grade; 70% believe the same for 4th-5th grade students and 52% for middle school students (6th-8th grade).

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