Story at a glance
- A majority of Texas and Florida voters believe transgender youth should be able to access gender-affirming health care, according to new research from The Trevor Project and Morning Consult.
- Most voters in both states said they do not support policies that would criminalize gender-affirming care and would be less inclined to support political candidates who believe otherwise.
- Most Texas voters said parents and pediatricians of transgender children should not be charged with child abuse, and a majority of Florida voters said LGBTQ+ topics, including sexual orientation and gender identity, should be taught in public schools.
Most Texas and Florida voters believe transgender youth should have access to gender-affirming health care and are less likely to support political candidates who try to make such treatment illegal, according to new research from the LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention and crisis intervention group The Trevor Project and Morning Consult.
In a report published Friday, 45 percent of Texas voters and 54 percent of Florida voters said gender-affirming care should be accessible to minors if it is recommended by their doctors or supported by their parents.
In Texas, most voters agreed that parents and pediatricians should not be charged with child abuse for providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth. The state’s governor, Greg Abbott (R), in February ordered state agencies to open abuse investigations into the parents of transgender children.
A Texas judge in June issued a temporary restraining order stopping the state’s investigation into three families with transgender children from moving forward. The order also prevents any similar probes into the members of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group PFLAG, which has more than 600 members in Texas.
According to The Trevor Project, a majority of voters in both Texas and Florida believe providing gender-affirming health care to transgender youth should not be illegal and would be less inclined to back a candidate for public office if the candidate supported policies that would criminalize gender-affirming medical care or ban social transition for minors.
That rings especially true in Florida, where the state Department of Health in April said children younger than 18 years old should not be permitted to receive any form of gender-affirming care, including social transition, which could be as small as a haircut or change of clothes. More than half of Florida voters said they oppose restricting transgender youths’ ability to socially transition, according to the Trevor Project report, which polled nearly 600 adults in Florida and Texas in mid-May.
Most Florida voters are also generally opposed to banning or limiting LGBTQ+ content in public schools, according to the report, with 43 percent of voters expressing opposition to policies that would bar educators from engaging in classroom instruction about LGBTQ+ topics, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
Late last week, Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, which has been dubbed by its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, officially took effect. The law, signed by the state’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in March, limits how public school teachers may address both sexual orientation and gender identity with their students.
Similar legislation has been introduced in more than a dozen states, with most supporters claiming that such measures bolster the rights of parents in the education of their children and protect young students from accessing content deemed not appropriate for school
Opponents, meanwhile, have accused conservative politicians of attempting to erase LGBTQ+ people from classrooms and single out transgender youth. Most lawmakers backing legislation that would restrict the rights of LGBTQ+ people are doing so to score political points, critics have said.
“After a record-shattering year for anti-transgender policies, it’s become clear that there are politicians who have determined that trans and nonbinary youth present a winning wedge issue,” Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs at The Trevor Project, said Friday in a statement. “But it’s also becoming clear that that is a miscalculation.”
“A majority of voters from across the political spectrum don’t just oppose these policies, they are less likely to vote for the lawmakers who support them,” Ames added. “It’s heartening to see that public opinion is trending toward inclusion as more and more people meet these extraordinary youth. We urge lawmakers to do the same, and listen to the will of the voters they represent — some of whom are, without a doubt, the very young trans people these policies harm.”