End of Year 2023 – LGBTQ rights

More Acceptance but Growing Polarization on Gender and LGBTQ Rights

As debates over gender, sexuality, books, and curricula roiled local and national politics, PRRI published timely reports and analyses on the state of Americans’ attitudes on gender, pronouns, and LGBTQ rights.

In March, we released public opinion data on LGBTQ rights from the 2022 American Values Atlas (AVA), which contains the results of over 22,000 interviews. While support for LGBTQ rights is at or near all-time highs, there is wide variation in Americans’ views along partisan lines, as Bob Smietana reported for Religion News Service. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) oppose permitting businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ people on religious grounds, however, Democrats are more than twice as likely (86%) as Republicans (41%) to oppose such religiously based refusals.

PRRI CEO Melissa Deckman, Ph.D., discussed the findings with Marc Ramirez of USA Today, saying, “It’s striking that public opinion is very different than what’s happening in some state legislatures.” As some states considered bans on drag, PRRI founder and president Robert P. Jones spoke with TIME’s Janell Ross about the survey findings and the ways religion influences Americans’ attitudes on LGBTQ rights.

Additionally, in June, PRRI released a survey of more than 5,000 Americans in a report titled, “The Politics of Gender, Pronouns, and Public Education.” Speaking to Grace Panetta of The 19th, Deckman explained that the survey “aimed to reconcile long-term trends of growing acceptance of LGBTQ+ people with a mounting wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Republican-controlled states that especially targets transgender Americans.”

While the survey found less than half of Americans (43%) agree that “young people are being peer pressured into being transgender;” this view diverges on partisan lines, with 74% of Republicans agreeing compared to 21% of Democrats. This and other survey findings were covered by NBC NewsAxiosThe Hill, and Religion News Service.

Finally, in an op-ed published by The Hill, PRRI CEO Melissa Deckman wrote about contact theory and Americans’ attitudes toward LGBTQ rights. According to Deckman, PRRI finds that diversity within Americans’ friendship networks profoundly shapes their attitudes on a range of issues that promote inclusivity. PRRI’s recent Gender and Politics survey showed that among Americans who are personally close to a transgender person, 7 in 10 oppose laws that would prevent parents from allowing their child to receive medical care for gender transition, compared with 52% of Americans who don’t know anyone who is transgender.

LGBTQ Rights Across the Headlines in 2023:


The Truth of Why Evangelical Christians Can’t Stand Drag

The Washington Post:

Feminists Have Long Supported Trans Rights


What the Media Gets Wrong About the Rise in Anti-Trans Hate

The 19th:

Many LGBTQ+ People Are Religious. Why Don’t We Have More Data About Them?


The Gen Z Cliff: Why Young Americans Are Mobilizing on Abortion and LGBTQ Rights

The Guardian:

‘Parents’ Rights’: Republicans Wage Education Culture War as 2024 Looms