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A majority of Americans are opposed to transgender women and girls competing against biological females in high school, college, and professional sports, a recent poll found.
What are the details?
The Washington Post said a poll it conducted with the University of Maryland last month found that 55% of Americans are opposed to transgender women and girls competing with “other women and girls” in high school sports, and 58% are opposed to the athletic matchup in college and professional sports.
About 3 in 10 Americans said transgender women and girls should be allowed to compete at each of those levels, the paper said, adding that 15% have no opinion.
But at the youth level, 49% are opposed to transgender girls competing with “other girls,” the Post reported, while 33% said trans girls should be allowed to compete and 17% have no opinion.
More from the paper:
Among athletes, the controversy has centered on transgender females, in particular. Critics say they have an unfair physical advantage against cisgender females because of factors such as generally having a greater muscle mass and larger skeletal frame, bone density and testosterone levels, which can help boost athletic performance.
Critics of the bans say they deny transgender athletes’ right to compete in a space that aligns with their gender, further stigmatizing children who are at greater risk of mental health problems. Critics also say the bans overestimate the extent of trans girls’ and women’s participation in athletics.
The Post added that its poll with UMD finds more than two-thirds of Americans — 68% — say transgender girls would have a competitive advantage over “other girls” if they were allowed to compete with them in youth sports; 30% say neither would have an advantage, and 2% say “other girls” would have an advantage.
The case of Lia Thomas
Teammates of Lia Thomas — the University of Pennsylvania transgender female swimmer who won a national championship — voiced reservations about Thomas’ presence on the women’s swim team, Mark Hyman, director of UMD’s Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, told the paper.
“They were totally supportive of her surgery and her path but opposed to her competing on the women’s team, so from a practical standpoint this is more evidence that there is considerable pushback,” Hyman added to the Post. “There is significant momentum against transgender athletes competing. … The survey results point to me that that’s a factor in how people are reacting to this.”
A teammate of Thomas said Penn officials warned women swimmers they’d face consequences for speaking out against Thomas’ presence on the team.
“They’ve made it pretty clear if you speak up about it, your life will be over in some way, you’ll be blasted all over the Internet as a transphobe … you’ll never be able to get a job,” the teammate told Matt Walsh as part of his just-released “What Is a Woman?” documentary, according to the Daily Wire.
The poll was conducted online May 4-17, 2022, using a random national sample of 1,503 adults, by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland’s Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement, the Post said, adding that results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.