Christians are just as likely to say that gender is determined solely at birth as are atheists and religious “nones” to say the opposite, according to newly released Pew Research Center findings.
Nearly two-thirds of Christians, 63 percent, told Pew that gender is determined at birth; while 62 percent of atheists/agnostics and “nones,” categorized as religiously unaffiliated, said individual gender can change from biological sex at birth.
Religious identification also affected a perception of whether the U.S. had gone too far in accepting transgender people, Pew said. White evangelicals, at 61 percent, were most likely to say the nation has gone too far, compared to 44 percent of all Protestants. Among other Christians, 33 percent of white mainline Protestants, 29 percent of black Protestants and 27 percent of Catholics agreed with the notion.
In the category combining atheists and agnostics, 65 percent said the nation has not gone far enough in accepting transgender people. About half of “nones,” 52 percent, agreed that the nation needs to do more to accept the transgender population.
The U.S. religious divide, which Pew announced Nov. 27, mirrors a partisan divide on transgender views Pew revealed Nov. 8 in concert with several state and local elections.
Politically, U.S. Republicans were more likely than Democrats to believe gender is determined at birth. Pew found both the religious and political divides in its American Trends survey conducted in August and September. About 80 percent of Republicans said gender is limited to the biological designation at birth, compared to only 34 percent of Democrats.
Pew described the poll, conducted online Aug. 8-21 and Sept. 14-28 among 4,573 people, as nonpartisan.
The poll included white evangelicals, white mainline, black protestant and Catholic subsets in the Christian category. White evangelicals presented the largest group (83 percent) of people who said whether a person grows up to be a man or woman is determined at birth. Black Protestants followed at 59 percent, and white mainline Protestants at 55 percent. Catholics were generally divided, with 51 percent following Protestant beliefs and 46 percent saying gender could change during one’s lifetime, Pew said. Four percent of Catholics registered as undecided.
Only 37 percent of the religiously unaffiliated said gender is determined solely at birth. Subsets in the category showed a similar belief among 43 percent of “nones” and 29 percent of atheists.
Pew’s full narrative on the findings is available at pewresearch.org in FactTank reports.
— by Diana Chandler | BP