The Slatest

Majority Say Transgender Individuals Should Be Allowed to Serve in Military

Protesters gather in front of the White House on July 26, 2017, in Washington, D.C.  

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Right after President Donald Trump announced that he would no longer allow transgender individuals to serve openly in the military, many published a poll that seemed to suggest most Americans would favor the move. Turns out, things aren’t quite so simple. A new poll by Reuters/Ipsos shows that 58 percent of Americans agreed with the statement that, “Transgender people should be allowed to serve in the military.” Only 27 percent, in contrast, disagreed with the statement while the rest said they didn’t know one way or another.

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When divided by parties it seems hardly surprising that there’s a clear split between Democrats and Republicans. While 83 percent of Democrats said transgender individuals should be allowed to serve, only 32 percent of Democrats held the same view. And only 14 percent of Americans believed that banning transgender service members makes the military “more capable.”

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Supporters of Trump’s ban are likely to point to another survey though that seems to show that Americans agree with the president. In another poll that was also released Friday, Rasmussen Reports found that the country is pretty evenly split on the issue. In this case voters were asked whether they agreed with Trump’s statement on Twitter that “our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” Overall, 44 percent of voters agreed with that statement, while 45 percent disagreed, and 11 percent were undecided. A Rasmussen poll released last month claimed only 23 percent of likely voters think allowing transgender individuals to serve openly is good for the military.

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