Respect Equality

Most Americans agree that transgender men and women are discriminated against: poll

More than a third of Americans surveyed by YouGov said they believe transgender individuals face a “great deal” of discrimination in their day-to-day lives.
People gather to protest against HB1041, a bill to ban transgender women and girls from participating in school sports that match their gender identity, during a rally at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. Michael Conroy/ AP

Story at a glance


  • A majority of Americans believe transgender men and women face higher rates of discrimination than cisgender people, according to a new YouGov poll.

  • LGBTQ+ respondents were more likely to say that transgender people experience a “great deal” of discrimination.

  • Overall, Americans believe that things will improve for the LGBTQ+ community over the next year, decade and next 50 years.

A majority of Americans believe that transgender men and women face outsized rates of discrimination in their daily lives compared to their cisgender counterparts, new research shows.

In a poll published Tuesday by YouGov, more than a third of Americans surveyed said they believe transgender individuals face a “great deal” of discrimination. When respondents were grouped by their sexual orientation and gender identity, more than half of LGBTQ+ Americans said transgender people currently face a great deal of discrimination.

LGBTQ+ respondents were also more likely than heterosexual or cisgender respondents to believe that gay men and women face a great deal of discrimination, as well as Arab, Asian, Black and Hispanic Americans.

Transgender Americans — particularly transgender women of color — face disproportionately high rates of violence, harassment and discrimination in sectors like employment and housing. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, in 2021 categorized the year as the deadliest in history for transgender and gender nonconforming people in the U.S., and, according to a 2019 report from the Williams Institute, close to a third of transgender adults live in poverty, including 39 percent of Black transgender adults.


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Looking forward, most Americans in the YouGov poll believe conditions for LGBTQ+ people over the next year aren’t likely to improve, but they also aren’t likely to worsen. Just over a quarter of respondents said they think things have gotten better for the LGBTQ+ community compared to a year ago, but a larger share, 36 percent, said things have stayed the same.

LGBTQ+ respondents were more likely to report that conditions have worsened over the last year, and were much more pessimistic about the next 12 months.

In just the first six months of 2022, hundreds of bills that target the rights of LGBTQ+ people have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide. Several of those bills — including a restrictive education bill in Florida and a felony ban on gender-affirming medical care in Alabama — have already become law.

But all hope is not lost. Close to 40 percent of Americans overall believe that things will improve for LGBTQ+ people over the next decade, according to YouGov, including 41 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents.

About a quarter of LGBTQ+ respondents said they don’t anticipate any significant changes over the next 10 years, and 20 percent believe that things will likely have worsened by then.

YouGov also asked respondents about their predictions for the next 50 years, and close to half of Americans said they think it’s “very or somewhat” probable that a gay man will be president by then. A similar percentage (44 percent) believe a lesbian woman could be elected to the nation’s highest office.

Close to 3 in 10 Americans surveyed said it’s “likely” that a transgender man or woman will be elected president in the next half century, including more than 40 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents.

Predictions were similar when respondents were asked about the likelihood of an LGBTQ+ person being appointed to the Supreme Court within the next 50 years — a noteworthy observation that comes as the Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, which some worry may weaken LGBTQ+ rights.