Friday, September 7, 2012

One More Via Huff

(apology first ~ yesterday's post got saved as a draft and not published until I noticed, after Paula went to bed. :) )

A good news article.  Study Finds Increasing Support for Transgender Rights in the U.S.  It opens:

Until recently, the struggles that transgender individuals face in both public and private institutions have been discussed primarily in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, but not by the wider public. Thankfully, a November [2011] study conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) has found that the majority of Americans support strong rights and legal protections for transgender individuals. This positive change in public opinion proves that civil rights movements have finally caught on with the general public. Whatever the case, it appears that the attitude of the majority of American toward transgender individuals is changing for the better. 

As much as I welcome news like this, I'm a bit skeptical.  When I read things like "a majority of Americans support strong rights and legal protections for transgender individuals," I wonder.  I mean, a majority of Americans believe the world was created in six days.  The article suggests strong support among Evangelicals and Republicans (also suggesting that support among other Christians and Democrats is a given).

And it says "The study also discovered that approximately 75 percent of Americans polled had a solid understanding of what the term "transgender" means. About 11 percent of those polled reported that they had a close friend or family member who identifies as transgender." Both of those numbers seem high.  Among civilians I've come out to, there has been confusion as to what transgender means.  My wife and my therapist were unsure.

But we can hope, no?


  1. Meg,

    The survey had a margin of error of +/-3% and it seems that it was done in two parts each of over 1000 random people with a decent number of folks reached on cell phones.

    I think that the positive numbers reflect the fact that most people do not fear TG folks. They are not concerned that the condition of a 'guy in a dress' is catching. The myriad stories that we hear about criminals wearing woman's clothing is viewed in large part by the civilian population as a singular incident of a sad individual.

    Religious people and libertarian minded folks, (as opposed to some organized religions and some religious dogma) by and large, preach love thy neighbor. They find virtue in tolerance.

    I am not as skeptical as you. I am not surprised that 90% of those surveyed believe that TG people should have the same civil rights as non-TG folks.

    I am not so sure that I agree that 75% have a solid understanding of the term 'Transgender'. I am not sure that you or I have a solid understanding of that term and we have both given significant thought and writing on the subject of 'T' terminology. Even in the survey they provided multiple sub-descriptions which spanned much of the so-called TG spectrum. We know that TG is a bit of a catch-all label.

    While I share your skepticism on the 'solid understanding' issue I am not sure what I think about 11% saying that they have a family member or close friend who is TG. People of our generation have spent much time in the closet. I think that younger people have had much more exposure to the concept and through the internet and social media feel as if people they know are TG and they themselves feel safe and comfortable with TG people.

    Random musings.

    As a Catholic (93%), Republican (86%) I am not surprised by the high percentages who believe TG people should have the same rights as other Americans. I think that this is a good survey and one that offers an optomistic view of the future.

  2. Meg -

    I'm not surprised that a polled majority would express support. But would they really give support when their social network is still against it? (I'm reminded of the scene from Blazing Saddles, where the little old lady brings the black sheriff a pie, and apologizes for the "Up Yours N----r", then asks for his discretion....)

    With that being said, I'm getting nothing but positive vibes while on vacation in SF.... I wonder how things will be on the East Coast when "my sister" tries going out in public....



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