Over two-thirds of Americans think that trans people should be allowed to serve openly in the US military, a new poll has found.
71% of respondents said they were in favor of trans military personnel.
The survey found the highest levels of support among Democrats, women, and young people.
The only group with a majority opposed to trans military personnel were Republicans.
The findings come from a Gallup poll conducted in May. It was carried out prior to a US appeals court affirming the ban, which has been demanded by US President Donald Trump since July 2017.
After being blocked in the courts for around 20 months, the ban on trans troops came into effect in April. The US Supreme Court ruled that the ban could go into effect while legal debates over its implementation continue.
The trans troop ban has been a highly divisive political issue. Earlier this week, the House of Representatives voted to block the controversial ban.
High levels of support
The poll, which was conducted from 15 to 30 May, asked: ‘Do you favor or oppose allowing openly transgender men and women to serve in the military?’
88% of Democrats said they favored trans service personnel. 84% of young people and 79% of women also said they supported trans people serving in the military.
High numbers of Independent voters were also supportive, with 78% saying they were in favor.
However, a slight majority of Republicans said they were opposed to trans people serving openly in the US military. 53% of Republicans said they were opposed to trans military personnel, with 43% saying they were in favor.
Military veterans were the second highest group opposed to trans troops, with 43% opposed and 56% in favor. This contrasted with nonveterans, of which 73% said they were in favor.
Groups with the next highest levels of opposition to trans military personnel were men (34% opposed), and people aged 65 and over (33% opposed).
Justifying the ban on trans troops
The Gallup poll was conducted prior to a US Court of Appeals affirming a watered-down version of the ban. The revised version only applies to openly trans people and those seeking or undergoing affirmation treatment.
While the appeal court’s ruling was reported as a small victory for Trump, it came with an important caveat: the court also said that the White House must justify its rationale for the trans troop ban for it to be fully implemented.
So far, Trump has failed to publically present an argument which proves trans troops have a negative effect on the military.
Earlier this month, the president said that trans people ‘[have to] take massive amounts of drugs’. Trump also claimed that trans troops cost the US military a significant amount in medical costs when he first announced the ban.
Both claims have been proven to be incorrect.
Figures show that the US military has spent $8 million on transgender healthcare since 2016. This amounts to 0.00016% of the overall military healthcare budget of $50 billion.
Observers have also pointed out that there has not been proven that trans service people are not disruptive to other personnel, or overall military operations.
A series of anti-trans policies
The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives voted to block the trans troop ban on Tuesday (18 June).
Since Trump first announced the ban, it has been widely condemned by trans rights supporters, Democratic politicians, and a number of former military personnel.
Critics have compared it to the reintroduction of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ rule, which was repealed under President Barak Obama.
In April, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi condemned the ban as an ‘act of cruelty’. Several military organizations have also pledged to defy the ban.
While it is the most high-profile, the trans troop ban is among a series of moves by the Trump administration to roll back the rights of trans people in the US.
In October 2018, the White House received widespread condemnation after a leaked memo suggested that the Department of Health and Human Services was planning to restrict the definition of sex to genitalia at birth.
Trans rights supporters said that the move would ‘legally erase’ trans people in the US. Trans rights advocates, multinational businesses and members of the science community took a stand against the move.
The White House has also moved to roll back laws introduced under the Obama administration. This includes policies designed to protect trans school students and trans prisoners.