Fewer and fewer Americans believe that trans athletes should compete in sports that do not correspond to their actual gender. The latest Gallup poll shows that between 2021 and 2023, the percentage of Americans who believe that birth sex should determine the gender under which trans athletes should compete grew by seven points. In 2021, 62% of respondents believed that trans athletes should compete in the category of their biological sex, while in 2023, that figure grew to 69%.
This change in the American public opinion comes after activism such as that of Riley Gaines, among other female athletes, whose achievements were taken away from her by a biologically male trans swimmer. In 2021, 34% of Americans believed that trans athletes should be able to choose the gender they compete as. By 2023, that support dropped to just 26%.
The same questions are answered differently depending on whether the American respondent personally knows a trans person. Those who know someone who is trans were consistently more in favor of allowing competition on the basis of self-perceived identity. However, a majority of these respondents still maintained that athletes should compete based on their biological sex.
According to the Gallup poll, respondents who declared themselves to be Democratic voters are the ones who most supported athletes competing under their perceived identity. Fifty-five percent of Democratic voters in 2021 supported trans athletes competing in the category of their choice. This percentage was reduced to 47% in 2023. These responses fall by 20 points among those who declare themselves independents and did not even exceed 6% among Republican voters.
Regarding the moral standpoint when it comes to changing gender, the main gap between the results was found in age. Of the youngest group, between 18 and 29 years of age, 66% said that changing gender is morally acceptable. This result was supported by 48% of respondents aged 30 to 49. Finally, only 32% of Americans over the age of 50 thought that changing sex is morally acceptable.