Most Americans oppose men in women's sports, say attempts to change sex 'morally wrong': Gallup

iStock/Alvaro Moreno Perez
iStock/Alvaro Moreno Perez

An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose allowing men to compete on women’s sports teams and remain divided on other aspects of LGBT ideology, according to a new poll. 

The poll, conducted by Gallup from May 1-24, asked 1,011 adults about their views on the hot-button issue of trans-identified men participating in women’s sports and chemical and surgical procedures performed to make one look more like the opposite sex. The survey had a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points.

When asked if “transgender athletes should be able to play on sports teams that match their current gender identity or should only be allowed to play on sports teams that match their birth gender,” 26% thought trans-identified athletes should be allowed to compete against the opposite-sex, putting women at a disadvantage. By contrast, 69% said trans-identified athletes should be required to compete against athletes of their same sex. 

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This represents a shift from May 2021, when 34% of respondents said trans-identified athletes should be allowed to compete on opposite-sex sports teams compared to 62% who thought athletes’ participation on sports teams should be based on their sex. 

Support for allowing trans-identified athletes to compete against the opposite-sex has decreased among Americans of all political persuasions in the past two years, while support for basing participation on one's sex has increased.

Among Democrats, who have heavily embraced LGBT ideology, support for letting trans-identified male athletes compete on women’s sports teams collapsed from a majority of 55% in 2021 to 47% in 2023. 

This year, a plurality of Democrats surveyed (48%) said athletes should be required to compete on teams that align with their sex. Larger majorities of Republicans (93%) and independents (67%) favor requiring athletes to compete on sports teams that correspond with their sex compared to 2021, when 63% of independents and 86% of Republicans thought that biology should determine athletes’ participation on sports teams. 

The survey comes as nearly two dozen states have enacted laws requiring trans-identified athletes to compete on sports teams based on their sex rather than how they choose to identify. These states include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

Supporters of requiring athletes to compete on teams that align with their sex point to the biological differences between men and women as the justification for their position. USA Powerlifting lists some of the factors that give males an advantage over females in athletics as “increased body and muscle mass, bone density, bone structure, and connective tissue.” 

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in December 2020 found that trans-identified male athletes maintain advantages over female competitors even after two years of taking female hormones. Among the real-world examples of trans-identified male athletes breaking women’s sports records include the case of trans-identified male swimmer Lia (Will) Thomas, who shattered women’s swimming records after joining the women’s swimming team. This and other examples have prompted states to take action to protect women’s sports. 

Additionally, Americans gave a cool reception to the false concept that one can change their sex. When asked if it was “morally acceptable or morally wrong” for someone to identify as the opposite sex and take drugs or have surgeries to look more like the opposite sex, a majority of Americans (55%) indicated they believe “changing one’s gender” is “morally wrong.” That represents an increase from the 51% who said the same in 2021. 

Unlike the issue of participation on sports teams, views on the acceptability of attempting to change one’s sex varied based on partisan identification. A majority of Republicans (84%) characterized changing one’s sex as “morally wrong” in 2023, an increase from the 76% who held that opinion in 2021. 

Independents were more split on the morality of changing one’s sex, with one-half (50%) describing such attempts as “morally wrong” in 2023. Two years earlier, an equal share of independents believed attempting to change one’s gender was “morally wrong” and “morally acceptable” (48%). 

While the share of Republicans and independents who see changing genders as “morally wrong” increased in the past two years, Democrats’ views on the matter went in the opposite direction. In 2021, 67% of Democrats thought it was “morally acceptable” to change genders. That figure rose to 70% in 2023 as the share of Democrats who believe changing genders is “morally wrong” dropped from 31% to 29%.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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