Trans visibility is growing in America despite Republican tidal wave of hate

A growing number of adults in the US know a trans person or someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, research has found.

Four in 10 (42 per cent) of Americans say they personally know a trans person, which is up five per cent since 2017. And the number who know a person who uses gender-neutral pronouns, such as they/them or ze/zir, has also increased – from 18 per cent in 2018 to 26 per cent today.

The findings come from the Pew Research Center, which surveyed 10,606 adults between 14 and 27 June, 2021.

While more people report knowing someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, the number who say they are comfortable doing so has remained virtually unchanged since 2018 – around half of those surveyed feel “very or somewhat comfortable” using gender-neutral pronouns to refer to someone if asked to do so, while just under half say they would feel “very or somewhat uncomfortable” doing so.

Sharp increase in young people who know a trans person

There were profound differences by age, party affiliation and education when it came to knowing a trans person or someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, the Pew research found, although growing numbers of both Democrats and Republicans report knowing a trans person.

For under-30s, the increase in those knowing a trans person has risen from 44 per cent in 2017 to 54 per cent today. Similar, 46 per cent of under-30s now know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, up from 32 per cent in 2018.

The Pew figures come as a huge wave of Republican-backed transphobic bills are being introduced in dozens of US states, targeting healthcare for young trans people, the parents and doctors who support trans kids, and trans students’ access to playing sports.

A total of 253 anti-LGBT+ bills have been introduced in the current legislative session, 124 of which are explicitly anti-trans. Sixty-six are focused on sports, 33 on access to healthcare, and 14 on bathroom and locker room access.

The Biden administration has already warned that many states passing these bills are breaking federal law, but has so far yet to enforce this in state legislatures.