The American public is sharply divided along religious lines over whether it is possible for someone to be a gender different from their sex at birth, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.
Most Christians in the United States (63%) say that whether someone is a man or a woman is determined by their sex at birth. Among religious “nones” – those who identify religiously as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – about six-in-ten (62%) say they think a person’s gender is not necessarily determined by the sex they are assigned at birth.
The new analysis is drawn from a recent survey that showed the American public was also deeply divided along partisan lines on the question.
Among Christians, white evangelical Protestants (84%) are most likely to say that gender is determined by sex at birth. Many black Protestants (59%) and white mainline Protestants (55%) also feel this way. Catholics are divided on the question, with 51% saying gender is a function of one’s birth sex, while 46% say it is possible for someone to be of a gender different from their sex at birth.
Overall, the new survey finds that roughly a third of Christians (34%) say they personally know someone who is transgender, ranging from 25% of white evangelicals to 41% of white mainline Protestants and the same share of black Protestants. About four-in-ten religious “nones” (43%) say this, including half of those who describe themselves as atheists or agnostics.