Americans remain starkly divided over how transgender athletes ought to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics according to a new survey from Axios and SurveyMonkey released on Monday.
"While 39% of people say transgender athletes should compete against others of the gender they were assigned at birth, 20% say they should compete against others of the gender with which they identify," the survey found. Fourteen percent say trans athletes should not be allowed to compete at all, and 23% say they don’t know.
When broken down into political groups, Republicans are far more likely to say transgender athletes should compete against athletes of the gender they were assigned at birth, at 58%, while Democrats were most likely to say transgender athletes should compete against athletes of the gender with which they identify, at 35%. Eighteen percent of Independents said transgender athletes should compete against athletes of the gender with which they identify, while 35% said that transgender athletes should compete against athletes of the gender they were assigned at birth.
Prior to the 2016 Olympic games, the International Olympic Committee updated its rules on transgender athletes competing in the Games. Although the organization had previously required athletes to undergo surgery, now athletes that are transitioning from female to male are allowed to compete in the male categories, while athletes transitioning from male to female may compete in female categories under certain restrictions.
The poll also found that "Almost half of Americans cannot name a USA athlete competing in the Olympics this year," at 44%, and that gymnast Simone Biles is by-far the most highly anticipated athletes to watch in this year’s games.
"When asked to write in the athlete they are most excited to see, Simone Biles wins by a mile," the survey notes.
It also found that most Americans, by a close margin, disapprove of the disqualification of Sha’carri Richardson from this year’s competition.
52% disapprove while 44% approve, and "Republicans are the only group to approve of the decision to suspend Richardson (58% approve, 42% disapprove; Democrats overwhelmingly disapprove (34% approve, 65% disapprove)."
The online poll was conducted by SurveyMonkey from July 14-18, 2021 among 5,169 adults across the country.
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