Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

CAP Poll: Support for Trans Rights

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | June 10, 2011 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Center for American Progress, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, poll, polling

question_mark.jpgA Center for American Progress poll shows huge support for LGBT rights, as I discussed yesterday. But the poll also shows some very interesting results regarding trans rights and regarding the levels of support for LGBT rights in various regions.

This Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll of likely 2012 voters was conducted in the first and second weeks of April 2011 using appropriate social science methodology. The survey was done by telephone and included cellphone users. The sample was a random one, with a 95% confidence interval. There were 818 complete responses. While that is not a large number compared to the target population of 300 million, it does provide a window into what is happening in the United States.

Interestingly, this poll used a split sample to test the question of how much support levels changed when trans rights were included. Half of the sample were asked whether they favor 'protecting gay and lesbian people from discrimination in employment,' while the other half was asked whether they favor these protections for 'gay, lesbian, and transgender people.' No prompt was given to explain any of these terms, so respondents may or may not have understood exactly what they were being asked.

According to CAP, "Seventy-five percent of likely voters say they favor 'protecting gay and lesbian people from discrimination in employment,' while 73 percent say they favor these protections for 'gay, lesbian, and transgender people.' The responses are essentially identical." (I notice that the bisexuals are missing from this formulation. My guess is that the pollsters assumed that support for gays and lesbians include those who are bisexual. What do you think of that?)

The split sample technique is designed to show how different wording formulations affect the validity and reliability of the data. What this poll suggests is that, for purposes of public support, trans rights are gay rights, and vice versa. But that may depend on how many people picked up on the term "transgender." A lot of people don't know what that means, and what people don't understand, they tend to ignore, rather than seek further clarification.

Fortunately, the poll gives us some data on how many were familiar with the term "transgender." It specifically asked how many respondents were familiar with the term "transgender." It turns out that 40% of the sample said they were familiar with that term. So 60% of the people who responded to the poll had, essentially, no idea what they were answering. They heard "gay," and that was the end of that. At least that's my initial guess. But if we could find out what difference there was between people who were familiar with the term transgender, and those who weren't, that might help us figure out what the polls results mean.

As a matter of fact, after speaking with Jeff Krehely of CAP, I was able to get some information about that. It turns out that 87% of those who said they are familiar with the term "transgender" favored workplace protections for "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender" people. (Now the bisexuals are included?) That's good news, because it's 15 points higher than the 73% support level for all respondents. This could mean that familiarizing people with the trans community will result in increasing levels of support. That remains to be seen, because there is an equally likely inference that the causation is reversed. In other words, perhaps being supportive of diversity causes familiarity with the term "transgender." Perhaps being supportive of diversity means that one seeks out information on diversity, or is open to it more than less tolerant people. Determining which way the causative arrow flows will require more research, and it could go both ways, as well. But either way, I believe it's good news, because it means that education of some kind, either explicitly about transgender people or about the importance of diversity, makes a difference.

Another fact of significance from the study is that most people who are not familiar with the term "transgender" are unsupportive of our rights (69%). When combined with the fact that most people were not familiar with the term (60%), simple multiplication shows that about 20% who said they were supportive may or may not, in fact, be supportive, because they had no idea what they were answering.

If we were to explain the meaning of "transgender" to that group, and the 73% support level held true, it would lower the true level of support for "gay, lesbian and transgender" people from 73% to 68%. The best way to address this in future research is to do a split sample, with half the respondents getting a prompt to explain what "transgender" means.

It would also be interesting to find out if there were a difference in levels of support for "transgender" people, as opposed to "transsexual" people. While each of these terms have their ambiguities, making agreement on definitions difficult, it would nonetheless be useful for the trans community to see how people react to these two quite different trans identities.

There are also some very interesting regional results. More on this next week.

imgsrc


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(I notice that the bisexuals are missing from this formulation. My guess is that the pollsters assumed that support for gays and lesbians include those who are bisexual. What do you think of that?)

I think Jillian is shows that the pollsters don't known what gay and Lesbian truly means, as gays and lesbians have no interest in the opposite sex thats why theirs a category for bisexual. Likewise I don't think people known what Transgender mean, for the most part they think it means anyone who dresses in clothes opposite their born gender.

how many respondents were familiar with the term "transgender." It turns out that 40% of the sample said they were familiar with that term.

Jillian while 40% said they were familiar with the term I take that to mean they heard or read it not that they truly known what it means or who it covers.

t would also be interesting to find out if there were a difference in levels of support for "transgender" people, as opposed to "transsexual" people. While each of these terms have their ambiguities, making agreement on definitions difficult, it would nonetheless be useful for the trans community to see how people react to these two quite different trans identities.

Jillian This would be extremely interesting to result to see, but I'm curious how you would describe a transgender Identity without hi jacking the term gender Identity or the GID diagnosis? Since those terms are solely used in the diagnosis of transsexuals and don't cover none GID qualifying Individuals. Jillian I would wager that if the mass amounts of transgender people who self diagnosis and claim to have GID underwent therapy and counseling that 90% of them would be deny a GID diagnosis. I say 90% because I feel that there are most likely about 10% who while they are undiagnosed and may be flying the transgender flag are really transsexuals. TRUE HBS Transsexuals are rare much rarer then the mass amount of transgender Individuals which have exploded upon the landscape in recent years. It seems like every freak, perv and wannabe that ever and a fantasy about being a women decided to transition. I think this is in part due to the Internet and the ability to communicate with others who have the seem fantasy. Also playing a part was the availability of Internet hormones and the ability to research surgery options in far away lands it all lures them into believing they could really be women even if they weren't born so, but how to get people to accept them ? they must have vilification for this transition and for that they looked to the medical community and lo and behold they came upon the DSMV and there in they found a diagnosis and while it wasn't written for them and it truly didn't cover them if they twist it and bend it and say it enough they can convince people that it does and wa la they would be a legitimate reason for their lifestyle. However just claiming something doesn't make it so, and thats why the Transgender people have received so much push back, the progress they have made has been off of a stolen diagnosis and their claim of "gender Identity" and being born in the wrong body gender which they can't prove since they lack a formal diagnosis. I feel like the reason that the Transsexual voice has been so drought out is that the vast majority of HBS transsexuals begin ansd end transition with the goal of blending back into society and not standing out which means not speaking out "Stealth" is t he goal. that leaves no one talking but the transgender who is left to say whatever they like without having to proof it. I do think with the changes in our society and more and more young people who are more accepting of difference becoming the majority that more and more HBS Transsexuals are speaking out coming out of stealth. In fact a very deep stealth Transsexual came out for "it gets better" just a month ago Janet Lee. As more and more HBS women of history come out the divide between Transgender vs Transsexuals grows and the roar grows louder and as was reported her recently its beginning to get in to get in the way of the transgender agenda. Transsexuals are taking back their Identity their speaking out and educating people on the differences between Individuals with a GID Diagnosis and those without, I'm one of these speaking out educating the public. I give lectures at churches, police stations, chambers of commerce or anywhere else I can. While I known this ruffles the feathers of those in transgender Inc I feel it's Important for the public to known the differences if HBS Transsexuals are every going to gain the same rights as everyone else in society who has a medical condition.

I think polls would go a long way in being able to educate the public and I'm going to look into having one done explaining the differences between the two groups and let the chips fall were they may.

Fantasy? You would know all about that Brandi since there is no such thing as a HBS Transsexual. HBS is a made up medical condition.

Gee, I hope you are more articulate in person than you are on the web. Though thinking about it a bit more, you prolly match your audience pretty well just as you are here.

This has a huge impact on the need for data collection for the trans community. Until a larger part of the population understands what transgender and gender identity mean- it will be extremely difficult to add specific questions about gender identity to government surveys.

Again, the evidence seems to reflect the idea that educating people as to who we are and how we identify can directly influence their support of our political and social goals. Positive education, clear explanations and, if you can, coming out as a trans person all help.

I use analogies when I give Trans 101 talks to cis groups. It's the best way I've found to bring across concepts that cis people cannot grasp intuitively. For the term, "transgender" I use the analogy of the words, "bird" or "metal." There are a great many variations of creatures that can be called birds. Diverse materials such as gold, lead, copper and steel, all with very different properties and appearances, fall under the term "metals." People get it then. The transgender community has many members who exhibit great variations within the community but have some similarities that allow us to be externally categorized for certain purposes. Simple as that.

There are a lot of things I think of when I hear the term transgender. Mostly negative. I do not like the misogyny directed towards post-transsexual women. Nor the colonization and erasure of our difference from transgender people.

Too often I think of the "Transgender Borg Collective" when I hear the term, a cult like group of people who all echo the same talking point endlessly and abusively towards post-transsexual women who do not want to be considered part of their "community".
Transgender was coined by Virginia Prince, a homophobic heterosexual (sic) and misogynist who hated transsexual women. Prince's words are the same word directed at those of us who had sex change operations and want nothing to do with the cult.
Transgender as umbrella is dead...
Feel free to use it strictly for people who live full time or for cross dressers but count me and others out.

AMEN SISTER !!! Susan the same thing comes to mind every time I get in a discussion with anyone from the Transgender Mothership "Transgender Borg Collective". They're whole cause is build upon a diagnosis they DON'T have. they've twisted and confused the general public to the point they can't tell a cross dresser from a transsexual. The Transgender Machine won't be happy until they have push society to the point that they're third gender (women with penis) is accepted in society. They all spout they same meme and call me the same names Elitist ,TTT, bigot, ect ect. I suspect very few of them could get pass a Gender therapist or counselor with a diagnosis of GI/GID. I also suspect that once a same sex marriage victory is accomplished on a federal level Transgender Inc will lose the support of the Gay & Lesbian community.

Susan you should e mail me so that we can begin to build our numbers as like thinking people and so we can seek out other like thinking people and then we can discuss how we should proceed to turn the tide.

I received a full GID Diagnosis in 2008, began hormone therapy, and received my Gender Realignment Surgery in January, 2011 after clearing two more psychologists' recommendations. I identify as transgender because I think it's a more appropriate term to define who I am. I do not like using the word transsexual to describe myself because I do not like the implication of sexuality that it implies. I'm happy to identify as a transgender lesbian.

And while I respect your opinion on your personal choice of identity, be careful with the blanket statements, please?

I came out in 1969. I did not have GID since the pathologizers hadn't invented it yet.
I was born with transsexualism. I got my hormones from a SF City Clinic. I got my surgery recommendation from Dr. Benjamin and my sex change operation in 1972.
I am a feminist and a lesbian. I think all the babble about gender is reactionary and part of the backlash against women by pushing oppressive sex roles in different drag.
Since Transgender Borg Membership is a political identity feel free to embrace it if you will just stop trying to foist that ideology upon those of us who reject it.

Go ahead, find any post of mine where I have forced anyone into an identification that they did not want. I am not your enemy, just because I am transgender.

Sera Likewise I respect your right to use whatever term you like to describe yourself although I can't for the life of me understand why you would want to be Identified with cross dressers and transvestites but it's your choice. I would also be very surprised at Lesbians accpting the term "transgender Lesbian". I would think that having completed the transitional process as you state that you would simple Identify as a women and not as trans anything. As for my blanket statements I continue to use them since they cover the vast majority of those in the Individuals making up transgender Inc.

Perhaps it's because my partner is pre-op, full time. Perhaps it's just because I feel no need to alienate anyone. Perhaps it's because, to the cisgender/cissexual eye, many of us appear to be "just cross dressers" at some point in our journey. Many of my friends are part time. I feel no need to disrespect them at all by rejecting them now that I am "complete."

In addition, I'm also a professional musician (heavy metal specialty) in the Los Angeles area. I am public about being transgender because I have found that I can help people that way by being a role model. I'm also, in some ways, still not completely binary - I have no qualms about my bass voice when singing backup vocals or extreme vocal scream styles, and my presentation day to day is often described as soft-butch.

As for lesbians that won't accept me in their community? I do what I can to explain, as many outside the political world just aren't used to it (i.e., my band's lead singer and her girlfriend), and for those that continue to reject? Well, I don't make it a habit of hanging around with transphobes, be they straight, gay, lesbian, bi, or otherwise.

Those that continue to make generalizations against others really have no room to speak when those same or other, different generalizations are thrown back at them. That's the irony I see in this discussion. Well, that and it's a complete thread hijack, as it always turns out to be these days.

I'd love to see some evidence that transgender people are responsible for the bad image of transsexuals in the public. 'Cause from where I can see, very few people listen to transgender activists and tons of people listen to their bigoted cis friends and nasty comedies.

We just had to chase some Jehovah's Witnesses away from our door. The Transgender Borg are pretty much the same sort of cult.
Stop including post-transsexuals under your Virginia Prince Umbrella. It is imperialistic and abusive to claim people who do not want to be part of your cult as automatically being members.
The default should be transsexuals are not part of transgender unless they want to be.

And I did that where? I'm a transsexual, not a transgender. Stop assuming every person that disagrees with you is part of a hive mind.

So, I have been sitting at my computer all afternoon reading literally hundreds of comments on the website of the local paper to a couple of articles about the Pride event yesterday. Loads and loads of ignorant, semi-literate comments from rigid, conservative, holier-than-thou, homophobes who can only repeat the scared, paranoid beliefs they have grown up with, without allowing a different thought to enter their brains.

And in my inbox, I keep seeing posts from rigid, extreme, holier-than-thou, rigid, conservative, holier-than-thou, homophobes who can only repeat the scared, paranoid beliefs they have been given, without allowing a different thought to enter their brains (I would have to say, from your blog to be somewhat progressive in your politics, though in the same hate-filled, nasty way as Rad Bitch...amounts to pretty much the same thing, though--rigid demagoguery).

I rarely read that local paper, b/c I know I am going to disagree with pretty much everything I see there. Unfortunately, I am somehow stupidly drawn to reading whenever there is an article about poor or minority ppl or gay ppl. And the same with here and all the 'TG vs TS' wars. I am getting to the point of really walking away from Bilerico, though, as it doesn't much relate to my daily life like the crap in the local paper though.

darksidecat | June 12, 2011 4:04 PM

I'm with you Carol, about walking away. Any sort of insult, abuse, or cruelty towards trans people (transgender and/or transsexual, as well as crossdressers) who do not tow the HBS line is allowed to go on constantly. I have never seen someone deny the gender identity or right to equal civil rights of an HBSer on these comment forums, but I have seen HBS seperatist people spew the most vicious sorts of hate, including condoning violence and discrimination. It is not that they think that there is a diversity of people with a variety of needs and the label does not fit them but people of all genders and presentations deserve respect and equality (though I have seen transsexuals that do express this, the HBS seperatists at issue here do not), it is that they hate, violently and intensely, all people whose genders are different from theirs except for the most tightly conforming of cis heteros.

It used to be that any comments like this were deleted, as was denying other ppl's gender (any of the phrases relating to 'HBS' were booted in particular, was even a rule about that). I have no idea why they are allowed to rampage here these days.

Reminds me of when MRAs come troll in some of the feminist sites I frequent. My fave sites are the ones that aggressively weed those out; such ppl don't come to have an actual interaction, just to stir up trouble. I guess that can be considered building an echo chamber, but you know, I don't go to the MRA or political right-wing sites and just argue and stir up trouble, I wish they'd do the same.

Well lets see right off the top of my head do y ou remember the Transgender up in NJ last summer who decided they were remov ing their tops to expose breast but yet refused to cover up stating to the lifeguard they didn't have to since they were men and men are allowed to go topless. The life guard had no choice but to call the cops when he relayed this to the transgender they covered up and left. This is but one example of how bad decisions and have left the impression upon people that transsexuals are weirdo's, freaks and makes them not want to associate with them or hire them or support rights for them. sure if I were to do a google search I could come up with tons of other examples

You seem to consider yourself a woman, Brandi? And I am going out on a limb here, but prolly white? And working class?

Well, guess what? We had this thing called the Indy 500 here a couple of weeks ago, and quite a few white, working class women took their tops (and other things) off, and got involved with the police. So I guess these women made all 1) women, 2) white ppl, and 3) working class ppl look bad? Or perhaps they were just stupid ppl being jerks?

How about str8 white dudes who act like assholes? Are you out there protesting all str8 white men b/c of those individuals?

I completely agree that there are women you would call Transgender who are stupid jerks, and nasty assholes. On the other hand, I know loads who aren't.

I personally am a transsexual who (as with another transsexual you attacked in another thread) went through the whole SOC, to the letter, and has had SRS. And really, I am fine with the binary, it works pretty well for me personally (I just don't attack ppl who aren't as some kind of terrorists). And I know a lot of HBS transsexuals who are stupid jerks, and nasty assholes, too.

The thing is how you pick out rare examples that support your point, and ignore anything that undermine it or refute it. I could give you plenty of mean, nasty things said by ppl like Ashley Love, and plenty of examples of behavior I find extremely embarrassing that ppl who consider themselves True Transsexuals have done (things not related to the whole TG/TS issue). And as I mentioned above, lots of examples of horrid behavior by women in general that supports sexism, and that I just shake my head at in dismay.

The thing is, though, I can't control other ppl's behavior. All I can control is mine. I can't control how other ppl stereotype me (and I get plenty from cis-lesbians and cis-gays) based on their concept of what 'trans ppl' are. All I can do is refute it. To me, the education piece is getting ppl to see the diversity inherent in any 'community', whether ethnic, sexual, gendered, social class, religion, and all that.

What you and the other HBSers are on about is just the same old assimilation issue of any group of ppl marginalized into a 'community'. I am of course generalizing myself, but uptight business-y gay men dislike the flamers out there (saw a few comments from them on the local paper website about Pride), a certain kind of black person hates the ppl they see as 'ghetto', str8 conservative transsexual women hate the trans ppl who are part of the gay community and esp the str8 male crossdressers.

Personally, I am not too fond of drag queens and crossdressers myself, b/c of the discomfort and insecurity in who and what I am that they trigger. But they aren't doing what they do to make life worse for me. Really, they don't care about me one way or the other. They are just living their lives the way they want. And to me, that is their right.

There are a lot of things I think of when I hear the term transgender. Mostly negative. I do not like the misogyny directed towards post-transsexual women. Nor the colonization and erasure of our difference from transgender people.

Too often I think of the "Transgender Borg Collective" when I hear the term, a cult like group of people who all echo the same talking point endlessly and abusively towards post-transsexual women who do not want to be considered part of their "community".
Transgender was coined by Virginia Prince, a homophobic heterosexual (sic) and misogynist who hated transsexual women. Prince's words are the same word directed at those of us who had sex change operations and want nothing to do with the cult.
Transgender as umbrella is dead...
Feel free to use it strictly for people who live full time or for cross dressers but count me and others out.

The survey was done by telephone and included cellphone users.

I would assume the survey was conducted on telephones provided by AT&T/T-Mobile.

This is very interesting. I didn't realize that ThinkProgress was CAP's news outlet. Very interesting.

Here's a list of all the companies John Podesta's lobbying firm has done business with.

http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/firmsum.php?id=D000022193&year=2011

Jeremy Scahill seems to be very critical of this group.

The way the survey is done seems to define bi-sexual as gay or lesbian. I am reminded of the bumper sticker from the eighties - - "1% bi-sexual, 100% homosexual". What about sex reassignment, however? I think wording and definitions are a very important matters when surveys are taken by think tank organizations with the closest connections to high octane lobbying groups. The question is why should anyone even do a survey on people who have had sex changes. Are there surveys that ask whether people who have had kidney transplants deserve civil rights?

I also find it interesting that CAP lead an organization call HCAN which opposes single payer health care. So how does the argument go? Women of transsexual history are elitist, separatist, classists who are abandoning our sisters? No, don't go out and point the finger at the Koch Bros., a neo-con or one of Barak O'Biden's neo libs from Delaware who stood by and let the Bankruptcy Act of 2005 pass or some lobbying group that does work for B P, Walmart and Bank of America who are opposed to health care for all. Turn around and blame those "elitist, separatist, classist women of transsexual history who want their sex changes recognized legally.

As far as H. . . .BS goes, yeah, exactly! I am sick of hearing that BS. I was born with transsexualism not a syndrome or a "Gender Identity Disorder". Are there actually more than one or two people writing in here who actually buy into that?

Yesterday, I didn't realize this post was a follow up to your June 9 post on the same survey. Once again several commenters have accused people of thread hi-jacking. However, clearly you say

If we were to explain the meaning of "transgender" . . .

and

with half the respondents getting a prompt to explain what "transgender" means.

Clearly, there is much disagreement on this. Clearly, GLAAD, has been the subject of controversy because of their relationship with AT&T. Clearly, it has not been written about only here but at Salon.com and, I am sure, elsewhere. Clearly, GLAAD's definition of "transgender" in their media reference guide is the most widely circulated. Clearly, a thorough analysis of why the the "GMRG" needs reform in this area was presented at Pam's House Blend six months ago:

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/18414/glaad-media-guide-reform-its-time

The in house writers at Bilerico and Pam's House Blend show total disregard for the concerns of the smallest minority of all. I actually think what is going on should be protested more vehemently. I don't think anyone concerned, anyone who really knows what is at stake, anyone who really wants to be legally and socially treated as the sex they transition to should be reacting in any other way but screaming bloody blue murder. Really, who is throwing who "under the bus"? Who is going to "explain" the meaning of "transgender"? If someone has changed their sex why do they need special rights to use sex segregated public accommodations appropriate to the sex they are legally?

If there is resistance where this is concerned why isn't that resistance fought on the grounds that physical sex change should be recognized for what it is rather than by essentially denying someone's existence based on overwrought gender theory? Do you actually think it is possible to deny the sex of assigned at birth people who don't change sex based on gender theory? Why not start there? Why not try to prove that everyone's sex assignment is a fallacy instead of being in such a rush to prove that physical sex change is no more meaningful than how one identifies? Who has to prove an identity to prove what sex they are except for people who want access to transsexual medical care?

As it stands now, gender is legally split in two. "Ending gender" may be a noble cause. It seems Quixotic to me, while at the same time ending rigid gender stereotypes seems, to me, very desirable. Until gender is ended for everyone, however, it will remain split in two even if someone tries to divide it by three. I went through one sex change. I don't want to be forced to go through another one. That is the effect the GLAAD defining is having. If some don't mind, that is their business. To run around pretending you are protecting a post transsexual persons rights by tacitly endorsing the GLAAD definition of transgender is beyond oppressive. The notion of transsexual is so important for people who change sex, physically, socially, emotionally and legally. It is wrong to dismiss that reality. It is outrageous that you suggest such a definition be feed to those swimming around in one of the most politically influential think tanks in this country.