Growing Number Of Americans Say They Understand What It Means To Be Transgender

06/12/2015 03:51 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016
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Americans' understanding of what it means to be transgender has grown since Caitlyn Jenner came out about her transition this May.

In a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, 42 percent of Americans say they have a very or extremely good understanding of what it means to be transgender, up from 31 percent just this February.

Forty-three percent say they've been following news about Jenner, and more than half say they've learned some or a great deal about transgender issues in the past year.

“We are having a larger national conversation about transgender issues, and by Caitlyn choosing to tell her story, she’s adding to that conversation,” GLAAD spokesman Nick Adams told the LA Times earlier this month. “It is allowing Americans to feel like they know someone who is transgender and hopefully bringing a greater understanding about what it means to be a transgender person.”

So far, that increased awareness doesn't seem to have translated into changing minds on some of the issues advocates are fighting for. As in February, Americans are about evenly split on whether parents should allow their children to identify as a different gender from the one they were assigned at birth, and on whether transgender people should be allowed to use public restrooms, dressing rooms and locker rooms designated for a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth.

Still, the survey suggests that just knowing someone who is transgender makes people significantly more comfortable with both ideas.

Among Americans who knew at least one transgender person, 57 percent said transgender people should be able to use restrooms and dressing rooms for their preferred gender, and 46 percent said parents should allow their children to identify as a different gender from the one they were assigned at birth. Among those who didn't know someone transgender, just 31 percent and 33 percent, respectively, said the same.

Another recent survey, conducted by SurveyMonkey for NBC News, found that most Americans think transgender people face prejudice today, but that 76 percent believe society will be at least somewhat more accepting 10 years from now. Sixty-six percent said Jenner's transition would help society along that road.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted June 3-4 among U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the poll's methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov's reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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