A majority of Americans acknowledge that transgender people face substantial prejudice in the U.S., according to the most recent NBC News online survey conducted by SurveyMonkey. Nearly half of Americans say transgender individuals face “a lot” of negative social judgment in their own communities, and another 37% say they face “some” stigma.
Americans overwhelmingly say that the very public transition of Caitlyn Jenner will help society become more accepting of transgender people. Two-thirds of Americans say Jenner’s transition will make people more accepting – 20% say Jenner’s high profile will help “a lot” and 46% say it will help “a little.”
Jenner, the Olympic champion whose transition was chronicled in the Vanity Fair issue set to hit newsstands on Tuesday, took the internet by storm last week. Caitlyn Jenner was the most searched item on Google, with more than 10 million searches. And her debut on Twitter garnered her more than 1 million followers in four hours, breaking the previous record for attaining Twitter followers held by Barack Obama. Jenner was interviewed by Diane Sawyer on ABC in April and will also star in an upcoming reality show on E! (NBC News and E! are owned by NBCUniversal).
Looking ahead 10 years, three quarters of Americans say that the country will become more accepting of transgender people. While 47% say the level of social acceptance will be “a little” more accepting, 29% of Americans think that society will become “a lot” more accepting. Eighteen percent say that there will be no difference in attitudes, and just 5% say Americans will be less accepting of transgender people a decade from now.
Americans may well be right about attitudes toward transgender persons shifting in the future. Over the last decade, pollsters have seen growing support among Americans toward same-sex marriage, with strong majorities now in favor.
Two-thirds of Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) acknowledge that transgender individuals face “a lot” of negative judgement in their communities, compared to 43% of Americans who do not identify as LGBT. And LGBT individuals are also more likely to say Caitlyn Jenner’s public transition will make society more accepting – nearly 9 in 10 say her transition will help, compared to about two-thirds of non-LBGT Americans. Twice as many Republicans (45%) as Democrats (21%) said that Jenner’s transition will not help promote acceptance of transgender individuals.
The NBC News Online Survey was conducted online by SurveyMonkey from June 3-5, 2015 among a national sample of 2,153 adults aged 18 and over. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in the SurveyMonkey Audience panel. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points. A full description of our methodology can be found here. The survey was produced by the Analytics Unit of NBC News in conjunction with Penn's Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies with data collection and tabulation conducted by SurveyMonkey. Analysis by the University of Pennsylvania's Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies.