21% of Americans believe that being transgender is a mental illness

May 17, 2017, 5:34 PM GMT+0

Over a quarter of US adults would not be friends with a transgender individual

RuPaul’s Drag Race has remained a beacon for LGBTQA+ rights throughout its nine seasons on air. This year, the show included its first openly transgender contestant – the lovely Peppermint – who, upon discussing her gender identity with her fellow Drag Racers, was met with love and support. This heartwarming moment, which aired Friday, comes in the midst of political turbulence in regards to, as well as violence towards, the trans community at large.

Despite attempts made by select celebrities and the media to promote understanding of marginalized individuals, a recent YouGov survey found that 21% of Americans think that identifying as transgender is a form of mental illness, and 39% believe that being transgender is a choice.

Similarly, even though 40% of US adults personally know someone who is transgender, 27% are not open to being friends with anyone who identifies as a transgender man or woman.

Significantly fewer people would consider dating, either casually or seriously, a trans man, woman or non-binary individual – 17%, 16% and 18% respectively. Respondents were even less likely to be open to the idea of engaging in a sexual act of any kind with a trans man or non-binary person (15%), and even fewer would consider intimacy with a transgender woman (13%). In the past twelve months, only 4% of Americans have been on a date with a transgender person.

As portions of society continue to chisel away at gender norms, will younger individuals in particular begin to have an eye towards gender fluidity? 14% of millennials have felt that their gender identity differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth – this is double the number of those 35-54 who have ever felt this way (7%).

Full survey results available here