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Today is Tuesday, November 27, 2007


HRC Releases Ground-breaking Public Opinion Research on Transgender Issues

Public is Broadly Aware of Transgender Americans, But Much More Education Is Needed, Says HRC

[WASHINGTON, DC] ? The Human Rights Campaign announced today the findings of a landmark HRC-commissioned poll conducted by the firm Lake Snell Perry & Associates Inc., that focuses on public perception of transgender issues. The poll shows that while most people accept that a person can be transgender, more education is needed to help people better understand the lives of transgender Americans, says HRC.

"The data shows that most people want to treat transgender Americans fairly and protect them from workplace discrimination and hate crimes," said HRC Communications Director and Senior Strategist David M. Smith. "Still, the majority of Americans report being uncomfortable about transgender issues, especially when confronted with the challenges that transgender people face."

Seventy percent of Americans have heard the word transgender and a majority have, on some level, contemplated the issue.

"The concept of transgender is something that the public is aware of, if not focused on," said Celinda Lake, of the polling firm Lake Snell Perry & Associates Inc. "Most people accept that it is possible for a person to be `born as one sex but inside feel like the other sex.' However, many are confused about what transgender means, and which people would be considered transgender."

All voters overwhelmingly favor transgender students attending public schools, according to the poll results. Additionally, despite differences between sympathizers and opponents, there is a strong general consensus that no one should be subjected to violence and discrimination because of who they are. There are, however, differences between the two points of view on how to address these issues.

The poll found that sympathizers who believe in transgender equality favor transgender-specific laws and opponents prefer using what they erroneously believe to be existing laws to protect transgender people. However, the fact remains that there are very few jurisdictions in this nation that prohibit discrimination against transgender Americans, says HRC.

Additionally, the poll found a very critical correlation between whether the public sees being transgender as a moral issue and whether they think people have a choice about being transgender.

"Three-quarters of those who say being transgender is a choice, also see it as a moral issue," said Lake, "while two-thirds who do not see it as a moral issue say people are born transgender."

Despite some negative segments of the population, much of the public expresses interest and concern for transgender people. The majority of respondents disagree with statements that say, "I do not care about transgender people," "I don't want to hear about transgender people," "There is no reason to worry about such a small minority," or "Transgender people get what they deserve." Conversely, the majority favors laws to protect transgender people's rights. Transgender individuals also face the same problem as gay and lesbian Americans, in that a great number of people believe that the law already protects these groups.

"The data clearly suggests that a strategic, step-by-step educational campaign that focuses on broadly supported issues - such as hate crimes and discrimination protection -- are the best place to start on the road toward equality," said HRC's Smith.

Among other findings:

61 percent believe the country needs laws to protect transgender people from discrimination.

57 percent incorrectly believe that it is not legal to fire a person just because they are transgender.

67 percent agree that it is possible for a person to be born as one sex, but inside feel like another sex.

53 percent believe it is "all right" for a person to be transgender, while 37 percent believe that it is wrong.

77 percent of people believe that transgender students should be allowed to attend public schools.

48 percent of Americans would have "no problem" working with a transgender person, while only 8 percent claim they "would not" be willing to.

See more info at:


Contact: David M. Smith Phone: Cell:

Contact: Wayne Besen Phone: Cell:

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay political organization, with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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