A new survey from independent research organization Public Religion Research Institute has shed some light on Americans' attitudes toward LGBTQ people, especially whether transgender people should be able to access the restroom that matches their transgender identity.
According to the survey, the 53% of Americans oppose laws that ban transgender people from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity. However, broken down by political party, Democrats oppose such bills 65 to 30, while Republicans favor them 59 to 36.
Though a majority of Americans oppose these laws, it's only by a slim margin, and the needle hasn't moved much since September, when Pew Research Center reported that 51% of Americans believed transgender people should be able to use the restroom that matches their gender identity.
Given that Republicans hold power in both the White House and Congress, that 59-36 split is especially worrying.
Though Republicans favor limiting transgender access to gender-appropriate restrooms, they do favor LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinances, which are heavily favored across the board. According to the survey, 60% of Republicans and 70% of all Americans favor laws protecting LGBTQ people.
The irony behind the support for nondiscrimination laws is that the passage of a nondiscrimination law caused the most famous transgender bathroom bill, North Carolina's House Bill 2. Republicans in the state legislature rushed to pass HB2 after Charlotte, North Carolina, passed an equal rights ordinance in the city.
Republicans may not care about transgender people's bathroom choices, but one group does have their sympathies. In a time of the de facto Muslim ban, a string of threats to Jewish community centers and transgender women facing harrowing violence, Republicans believe one group has it the worst when it comes to discrimination — Christians.
The survey found that 48% of people who identify as Republicans believe that Christians face a lot of discrimination. More Republicans reported widespread discrimination against Christians than against black Americans, lesbians, gays, immigrants and Muslims. Forty-eight percent of Republicans believed transgender people face a lot of discrimination.
That number was far different from Democrats, who by a wide margin believed that black people, immigrants, LGBTQ people and Muslims face discrimination while white people and Christians do not.
The federal government will not weigh in on the question of equal access for transgender people to public facilities as soon as some had hoped. The Supreme Court, after choosing to take 17-year-old Virginia student Gavin Grimm's case in October, sent the decision back to the lower courts after the Trump administration rescinded the Obama administration's guidance telling schools that transgender students' rights were protected under Title IX.
Correction: March 10, 2017