Partisan gap widens on transgender bathroom rights

Partisan gap widens on transgender bathroom rights

More Americans say federal protection from sex discrimination should include gender identity but the stalemate on bathroom rights persists

On March 6th, the Supreme Court vacated a lower court's ruling in favor of Gavin Grimm, a 17-year old transgender student from Virginia fighting for legal access to use the boys’ bathroom at his school. The controversial ruling left students, parents and school officials without resolution to what many consider a question of gender identity rights.

Research from YouGov suggests that opinions on this issue have polarized along partisan lines. When asked whether they would favor or oppose a law that would require transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender of their birth, Americans were split 40% in favor and 40% opposing. Compared to 2016, an additional 12% of Democrats would now oppose such a law. The number of Republicans who said they would support it have increased 14%. 

46% of Americans polled agree that federal laws forbidding discrimination on the basis of sex should extend to gender identity, while 32% disagree. Opinion remains divided as to whether the protection of law should include a right to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender with which one currently identifies. 

The Supreme Court’s decision was reportedly made in light of a change in policy from the Trump Administration that revoked Obama-era guidance for protection of transgender students. Gavin and others now look to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration.