More American adults than ever know someone who is trans – but almost half feel too uncomfortable to use the pronoun ‘she’

A growing number of Americans personally know someone who identifies as transgender. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Alana Smith made Olympic history this weekend by becoming Team USA’s first non-binary athlete, participating in the Women’s Skateboarding Street event, and proudly displaying their pronouns – she/she – on their skateboard during the broadcast. Still, broadcasters did not call Smith “they” during the event.

Now, new findings released by the Pew Research Center showing that the broadcasters were not alone in their apparent discomfort.

The research, released Tuesday, revealed that despite the cultural shift around gender identity — celebrities like Elliot Page who come out as transgender, or members of Gen Z who are four times more likely to identify as trans, non-binary or gender-fluid, according to recent reports. data – not everyone has the same level of acceptance of the new reality.

According to Pew, there has been a slight rise in awareness, which found that 42 percent (about four in ten) Americans say they know someone who is transgender — a five percent increase since 2017. In addition, 26 percent of adults say they know someone who is transgender. know those gender-neutral pronouns like “she” or “she” — an 18 percent increase since 2018.

Still, 56 percent of U.S. adults believe gender is assigned at birth, while 41 percent say a person’s gender may differ from the gender they were given at birth — views that have roughly stagnated since 2017.

While all age groups have shown growing awareness, by far the greatest growth has been among those under 30: 46 percent of under 30s said they know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, such as “she/she” (an increase from 14 percent compared to 2018), compared to 29 percent of those over the age of 30 (10 percent more than in 2018).

And while half of Americans say they would feel “very” or “somewhat” feel comfortable using a gender-neutral pronoun, 48 percent say they would feel “very” or “somewhat” uncomfortable doing so.

Breaking that down by age, the findings show that six in 10 people (61 percent) under the age of 30 say they are comfortable using gender-neutral pronouns to refer to someone, including 39 percent who say that they feel “very” comfortable.

That compares with 53 percent of those aged 30 to 49, 46 percent of those aged 50 to 64, and 41 percent of those 64 and older who say they feel “somewhat” comfortable going to to refer to someone as “they/them”. ”

The figures for comfort have remained virtually unchanged since 2018.

Interestingly, these polls also reflect political party associations, notes Pew Research, which, it could be argued, parallel the record number of anti-trans laws (such as bathroom bills and a ban on trans athletes participating in school sports or receiving gender-confirming medical care) that limit definitions of gender to the gender assigned at birth.

While adults in both political parties are now more likely to know someone who uses “she/she” pronouns, Democrats are still twice as likely as Republicans (34 percent vs. 16 percent).

That being said, 68 percent of Republicans say they would feel uncomfortable using these pronouns, compared with 67 percent of Democrats who say they are indeed comfortable using them.

As for Smith, it’s not exactly clear what the broadcasters were thinking. But AwaySport opinion writer Brian Bell believes that “what happened to Smith on Sunday reflects the attitude in the minds of event organizers… information is there. Olympic organizers have it, have not communicated it well to people whose job it is to convey knowledge from competitors (who are also able to do their own research) and in doing so have ruined a great moment of inclusivity in the sport.”

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