Exclusive: Majority of Americans support
transgender military service
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[July 29, 2017]
By Chris Kahn
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A majority of Americans believe that transgender
individuals should be allowed to serve in the military, according to an
exclusive Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Friday.
The July 26-28 poll suggested that the country largely disagrees with
President Donald Trump's announcement this week that he will ban
transgender personnel from the armed forces.
When asked to weigh in on the debate, 58 percent of adults agreed with
the statement, "Transgender people should be allowed to serve in the
military." Twenty-seven percent said they should not while the rest
answered "don't know."
Democrats mostly supported military service by transgender Americans
while Republicans were divided on the issue.
Among Republicans, 32 percent said transgender people should be allowed
to serve, while 49 percent said they should not. Another 19 percent of
Republicans said they don't know.
The public was also divided over the impact of banning transgender
service members. Some 32 percent said it would "hurt morale" in the
military while 17 percent said it would "improve morale." Another 33
percent felt it would "have no impact" and the rest said they don't
When asked about the impact on military capabilities, 14 percent said
prohibiting transgender service members made the military "more capable"
while 43 percent said "no impact," 22 percent said "less capable" and
the rest said they don't know.
The president's announcement, made in posts on his Twitter account,
surprised many senior military officers and appeared to pre-empt an
ongoing Pentagon review into its inclusion of transgender service
The United States' top military officer, Marine Corps General Joseph
Dunford, said the military will not alter its current policies until it
receives additional guidance from Trump's secretary of defense.
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A rainbow flag flies as people protest President Donald Trump's
announcement that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender
individuals from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military, in
Times Square, in New York City, New York. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Roger Kaikko, 61, a Trump voter near Cleveland, Ohio, who took the
poll, said he disagrees with the president.
"Even the president shouldn’t be able to take rights away from some
people just because he may not like them," Kaikko said. "They’re
people too. Unless they’re causing problems, they should serve just
like anybody else."
Opinions about the ban probably will not have lasting impact on the
president's overall public support, said Jan Leighley, an expert in
political behavior at American University.
"For many people, this is just a distant political issue," Leighley
said. When compared to healthcare, immigration or the economy, the
president's stance on transgender issues "is not something that’s
going to change their prior beliefs or attitudes" about Trump.
The Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll was conducted online in English
across the United States. It gathered responses from 1,249 adults
including 533 Democrats and 434 Republicans. It has a credibility
interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points for the
entire group and 5 percentage points for Democrats and Republicans.
(Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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