Public is divided over transgender bathroom issue, poll shows

The public is sharply divided along age, party and education lines over whether transgender people should be allowed to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity rather than their gender at birth, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

While less than a majority, 46 percent of Americans say they think that transgender people should be allowed to use only public restrooms corresponding to their gender at birth. A smaller number, 41 percent, think transgender people should be allowed to use the restroom that matches the gender they identify with.

Democrats, college graduates and those under the age of 45 are more supportive of allowing for gender identity in bathroom choice, while their counterparts take the opposite stance.

The nationwide poll was conducted after President Obama issued a directive to public schools last week outlining ways to avoid discrimination against transgender students. The Obama administration contends that the issue is a federal civil rights question, while some states, such as North Carolina, say it is an issue for individual states to decide.