Majority of Americans opposed to biological men competing in women's sports: poll

Slate of new state laws on issue has led to national conversation on whether transgender athletes should be able to compete with their non-biological sex

Updated: June 14, 2022 - 1:26pm

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A majority of Americans do not support allowing biological males who identify as women to compete against women and girls in high school sports, according to a new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed opposed such competition, while an even higher number – 58% – said the same thing about biological men competing against women at the collegiate level. 

About 30% of those polled said transgender women should be able to compete against biological girls and women at any level, and 15% gave no opinion.

Close to 70% of respondents said they thought transgender girls (playing in youth sport) would have a competitive advantage over biological girls, though just over 50% said they were concerned that there would be negative mental health impacts for the biological boys who were denied the opportunity to compete against girls. 

"People increasingly have an awareness of the issue and are empathetic toward the journey that transgender people are on, but the notion that they are competing against athletes that are born a particular sex are lagging behind that," Mark Hyman, the director of the university's Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism told the Washington Post. 

The survey was conducted among 1,503 in mid-May. The majority of those polled identified as sports fans and are parents, and the margin of error for the sampling was 0.5%.

According to new data released this month, 43% of individuals who identify as transgender in the U.S. are teens and young adults.