As HRC marks Transgender Day of Visibility today, we celebrate how more and more Americans have come to understand and embrace transgender people—thanks in large part to trans people who choose to share their stories with their friends, colleagues, and communities. A recent poll of likely voters, conducted for HRC by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, found the highest number yet for favorable views of transgender people: 47 percent saw transgender people in a positive light, while only 19 percent had an overall negative opinion.
These numbers show steady improvement over the past several years. In HRC’s 2015 poll, 44 percent of likely voters had positive views of transgender people, and 25 percent felt negatively. The mean rating, on a scale of 0 (very cold feelings) to 100 (very warm feelings), jumped eight points from 58 to 65. As in past years, those polled in 2017 were much more likely to have positive views of transgender people if they personally knew someone transgender. Sixty-two percent of those who knew someone transgender took an overall positive view, and only 16 percent had negative feelings.
Transgender people are living openly in communities across the U.S. In the HRC poll, participants in each region of the country were about as likely to know someone who is transgender. Race and gender also didn’t seem to affect whether participants knew a transgender person.
Non-trans people may get to know trans people in many areas of life. Asked about the transgender person they knew best, nine percent of poll participant said that person was in their immediate family, and one-third said they were a friend. Another 14 percent said the person was a co-worker. Many have several trans people in their lives: among those who said they knew a transgender person, two-thirds knew two or more.
Growing support for trans people among families, friends, workplaces and communities is the result of brave work by countless activists—including cisgender allies as well as transgender people who choose to keep their own trans status private. Nonetheless, this new data is further evidence that simply being open and visible in our communities is an invaluable way for trans people to move equality forward.