Should transgender people be allowed to use bathrooms according to their gender identity or not?
Pew Research Foundation conducted a survey asking this question and found that Americans’ opinions regarding the issue are divided, with half saying yes and the other half saying no.
The poll results revealed that 51 percent of the respondents agree that transgender people should be allowed to use bathrooms based on the gender they identify with, while 46 percent said transgender people should use bathrooms based on the gender assigned to them at birth.
Pew Research discovered that factors like gender and politics influence these opinions. For example, women are more likely to say yes (55 percent) compared to men (45 percent). With regard to political inclination, lesser Republicans (30 percent) said yes compared to Democrats (68 percent).
Religion also comes into play. Many white evangelicals who said they attended worship services weekly said transgender people should only use restrooms accortding to their biological sex, while those who said they did not attend religious services regularly or do not identify with any religion took the opposite stance.
The debate on transgender bathroom use was sparked when North Carolina signed a law early this year saying transgender people can only use bathrooms corresponding to their biological sex.
The controversial law, known as House Bill 2, caused a number of celebrities like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Nick Jonas to cancel their shows in the state as a form of protest over what they said was discrimination against transgender people. Some businesses like Deutsche Bank and PayPal also halted their plants for a North Carolina expansion. ACC and NCAA moved their championships outside the state because of HB2.
North Carolina legislators said the bill was enacted to protect women and children from sexual predators who could enter public restrooms pretending to be a transgender. Gov. Pat McCrory defended the bill.
"There's an expectation of privacy for the other girls or other boys in their junior high locker rooms or shower facilities, that the only other people coming into there are people of the same gender, or built as the same gender," MCCrory said. "We need to work through these problems and not throw hand grenades at this issue because it's a new, sensitive issue on all sides."
The debates were fueled further when Pres. Barack Obama issued a mandate that public schools should allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms based on the gender they identify with.
A survey conducted by the Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research in July showed that 66 percent of adult Americans disapprove of the administration’s transgender bathroom mandate. Half of the respondents (52 percent) expressed strong disapproval.