Before seeing this, I would have bet big that Americans morally disapprove of gender-bending far more than they do of gay relations. It’s a simple function of familiarity. Americans have spent the last 10 years saturated in media support for gay marriage; gays are more visible culturally now than they’ve ever been before by far. Attitudes have changed, and as they have, some perceptions of weirdness have evaporated. Transgenders didn’t go fully mainstream until much more recently so there’s bound to be an adjustment period among the population.
Or so I thought. Per YouGov, though, 37 percent say gay/lesbian relations are morally wrong. Those who say identifying with a gender different from the one you were born with is morally wrong: Just 31 percent.
Not a single demographic group, Republicans included, reaches 50 percent on “morally wrong.” In fact, GOPers were the only group to have a plurality say “morally wrong” instead of a combo of “morally acceptable” or “not a moral issue.” That last category makes me wonder, though. Some people might say that transgenderism isn’t a moral issue because they’re strongly supportive of it, i.e. they think it’s a matter of pure identity. We don’t say that being male or female is “immoral,” do we? Others might say it’s not a moral issue because they strongly disapprove, i.e. they think it’s a product of mental illness. We don’t call disturbed people “immoral,” do we? Would have been useful if YouGov had investigated the “not a moral issue” crowd to see why they feel the way they do.
Another interesting finding: Even among Republicans, a plurality thinks you should use the new gender pronoun for a transgender person at some point during their transition. Opinion on when, precisely, you should start differs. Sixteen percent say only after surgery, six percent say once the person starts looking like a member of the other sex, four percent say once the person starts medical treatment of some sort, and 19 percent say as soon as the person identifies as transgender. Just 30 percent say you should never change the pronoun. There’s a big partisan split on that, as you might guess — among Dems, just 10 percent say you should never change the pronoun while 41 percent say you should change it as soon as the person identifies as transgender, the plurality position on the left. Presumably, to progressives, if you’re a man and you say you’re a woman, you’re a “she” going forward whether or not you do a thing to manifest that physically.
Here’s my favorite question. If your spouse came out to you as transgender, how upset would you be? Very upset, upset, not very upset, or not at all upset? YouGov asked the same question about having a transgender child (41 percent overall would be upset, 65 percent of Republicans versus just 28 percent of Democrats), but the numbers disapproving of a transgender spouse are much higher for obvious reasons — although maybe not as high as you might think. The partisan split looks like this. (The top line represents “very upset” followed in order by the other emotions I already listed. The fifth line is “not sure.”)
Nearly a quarter of Democrats, 23 percent, wouldn’t be very upset to be told that the man/woman they fell in love with isn’t a man/woman anymore. Actually, I should rephrase: 23 percent of Democrats say they wouldn’t be very upset. The push for mainstream acceptance of transgenderism is already far enough along on the left that some Dems are doubtless giving the answer here that they know they’re supposed to give to be bien-pensant. Makes me wonder where those numbers will stand after 15 more years of pro-trans media coverage. America won’t truly be free until a clear majority of Democrats are willing to lie to pollsters and say they don’t care if their husband wishes he was a woman or their wife wishes she was a man.