Poll reveals broad support for transgender bathroom policies that reflect birth gender

A gender-neutral bathroom is seen at the University of California, Irvine in Irvine, California, September 30, 2014.(Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

A new Gallup survey has revealed that more people think transgender individuals should use the bathroom that reflects their birth gender as opposed to their gender identity.

Over half of the 1,017 American adults surveyed (51%) agreed that transgender people should "use the restroom that corresponds with their birth gender". 

LGBT activists have pushed in recent years for a change to public bathroom policies so that transgender people can use facilities according to their gender identity, but this has alarmed critics who say it puts women and girls at unnecessary risk.

Although the Gallup poll revealed broad support for transgender policies in line with birth gender, still a sizeable proportion of Americans (44%) expressed the view that it is acceptable for people to use bathrooms according to the gender they identify as. 

The poll also revealed a slight drop in the last three years in the number of Americans who say they have no opinion on the issue, down from 10% to 5% now.  

Gallup said this change could suggest that Americans have "become more familiar with the issue in recent years". 

Interestingly, men (61%) were more likely than women (42%) to say that policies should require transgender people to use bathrooms according to their birth gender.  

The vast majority of Republicans (78%) shared this view, well above Democrats (27%).

Over half of women (53%) said they preferred policies that were based on gender identity. 

The survey also revealed that more people prefer separate bathrooms for men and women (68%) over unisex facilities (30%).

"Americans' views on gender-related policies governing public restrooms have shown little movement in recent years," Gallup analyst Justin McCarthy wrote.