Most Americans say lessons about sexual orientation, gender belong in the classroom, survey finds

Share this post
Listen to this article

A majority of Americans believe lessons about sexual orientation and gender identity should be taught in public schools, according to a survey released Thursday by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), although an increasing share of adults also believe that there are only two genders.

Few American adults — 34 percent — believe it is “never appropriate” to discuss same-sex romantic relationships in the classroom, according to Thursday’s survey of more than 5,000 American adults. Republican respondents are more than three times as likely as Democrats to say this, at 55 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

Republicans are also more likely than Democrats to say public schools are interfering “too much” with a parent’s right to determine what their children are taught, with 79 percent and 31 percent of respondents from the respective parties saying so.

When it comes to lessons surrounding gender identity, close to a third of Americans believe it is “never appropriate” for students to learn that some people are transgender, although opposition is significantly lower among those who have a close friend, family member or acquaintance who is transgender. 

Just 11 percent of respondents in Thursday’s survey said they have a close relationship with someone who is transgender, while roughly 63 percent said they did not know anyone who is transgender.

Differences in Americans’ views on gender identity and sexual orientation tend to hinge on political affiliation, trust in news sources and generational membership, according to Thursday’s survey.

“The definition of gender has become a high-profile and controversial topic in the public discourse in recent years, receiving significant conservative media attention,” PRRI CEO Melissa Deckman said Thursday. “We’re seeing a hardening of position in support of a gender binary nationally, informed largely by partisanship and news consumption.”

Still, “it’s those who feel the most strongly about gender who are driving these conversations,” Deckman said.

The share of Americans who believe there are only two genders — male and female — jumped to 65 percent in 2023, according to Thursday’s survey, up markedly from 59 percent in 2021. Of the most recent number, roughly half said they feel strongly about this belief.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who believe in a range of gender identities sank to 34 percent in 2023 from 40 percent in 2021. Just 14 percent said they feel strongly about their views on gender.

Political affiliation plays an outsized role in determining how Americans feel about gender, according to Thursday’s survey, with a whopping 90 percent of Republicans and less than half of Democrats — 44 percent — reporting they believe in a gender binary.

That said, Republicans in Thursday’s PRRI survey were more than twice as likely as Democrats to report feeling fatigued with debates over gender identity. More than 60 percent of Americans overall said people spend too much time talking about gender and pronouns, while just over a third — 37 percent — disagreed.

Roughly 85 percent of Americans who trust conservative news outlets and Fox News said they believe people spend too much time discussing gender and pronouns, compared with 54 percent of adults who watch mainstream news.

Generation Z is the only generation in which a minority of respondents – 48 percent – said people spend too much of their time talking about gender, compared with 54 percent of Millennials and 66 percent of Generation X. About 70 percent of Baby Boomers and 73 percent of members of the Silent Generation said they were tired of discussing gender and pronouns.

Members of Generation Z are also much more likely than other generations to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer, with 20 percent in a recent Gallup poll identifying as LGBTQ.

Generation Z’s increase in LGBTQ identification has shaken some conservative political leaders, many of whom have argued that it proves young people are being pressured into being gay or transgender through social media or by their peers.

Less than half of Americans in Thursday’s PRRI survey said they believe “social contagion” is driving more adolescents and children to come out as transgender, although that belief diverges along partisan lines, with 74 percent of Republicans and just 21 percent of Democrats saying that young people are being peer pressured into identifying as transgender.

Go to Source

Leave Your Comment