Most in new poll say restricting access to gender-affirming care should not be focus for politicians

A majority of Americans said they believe politicians should not have a say in whether transgender people are able to access gender-affirming health care, even as a record number of states press legislation to severely restrict care for transgender youths and adults, according to a poll published Monday by The 19th News.

In a survey of more than 20,000 American adults, 72 percent said politicians do not know enough about gender-affirming health care to make accurate policies. Just 17 percent of Americans, and 29 percent of Republicans, said restricting access to gender-affirming care should be a focus of politicians on either side of the aisle.

Nearly half of survey respondents — 44 percent — said politicians should not focus on transgender issues at all.

“Each side needs to leave it alone,” Sal Cossari, a Republican living in New Jersey with his long-term girlfriend and his young son, told The 19th News.

Most Republicans agree: When asked if they believe elected leaders should focus on restricting access to gender-affirming care, protecting transgender people or dropping the issue entirely, a plurality of Republicans surveyed — 58 percent — said they do not want politicians to wade into transgender issues.

A similar share of Democrats — 59 percent — said politicians should focus on policymaking that protects transgender rights, compared with just a third of the general public.

Survey responses were more varied when respondents were asked about their own views on gender-affirming care. While most said they support the right of transgender adults to access transition-related care, more than half said they oppose such care for minors.

The majority of LGBTQ Americans surveyed said they support gender-affirming health care for both adults and minors.

The findings come during a record-shattering year for legislation targeting the LGBTQ community. Close to 500 bills that threaten to roll back the rights of LGBTQ Americans — and transgender Americans, in particular — were filed this year in state legislatures, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, mostly by Republicans. At least 84 bills were passed into law, more than doubling last year’s total.

No fewer than four standalone bills targeting transgender people were introduced this year by Republicans in Congress, including bills to limit transgender participation in school sports and make providing gender-affirming health care to minors a felony crime. GOP presidential candidates have pledged to enact similar policies if they are elected in 2024.

Democrats at the state and local level have responded by introducing measures to protect LGBTQ people, including by establishing “safe havens” for gender-affirming health care and abortion, another target of conservative politicians.

Tags gender affirming care LGBTQ rights transgender health care