NASHVILLE (BP) – Most Americans see nothing morally wrong with gender change, a study released July 14 shows.
Six in 10 Americans don’t think it’s wrong for people to identify with a gender different from their birth sex, according to a LifeWay Research survey conducted Sept. 14-28, 2015.
And more than half don’t think it’s wrong to switch genders by taking hormones or having surgery.
The findings indicate most Americans don’t see moral significance in being born male or female, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.
“We freely change many things about ourselves – we have cosmetic surgery, we use teeth whitener, we dye our hair, we get tattoos. Many Americans view gender as one more thing on that list.”
‘Not a moral issue’
Questions of morality have surfaced as politicians debate restroom access, employment protection, insurance coverage and military service for transgender people.
Is it morally permissible for a doctor to remove healthy organs? Is it acceptable to give puberty-delaying drugs to children who feel gender conflict? Is it ethical for society to require people to live as one gender if they identify strongly with the other?
However, many Americans say gender simply isn’t a moral issue.
LifeWay Research asked 1,000 Americans whether they agree or disagree that changing one’s gender or identifying with a different gender is morally wrong. Respondents also had the option to select “it’s not a moral issue.”
About a third of Americans (35 percent) say it’s wrong for people to identify with a gender different from their birth sex, while 45 percent disagree. As for changing gender, 42 percent say it’s morally wrong and 43 percent disagree.
But an additional 14 percent of Americans say identifying with a different gender isn’t a matter of morality, and nearly as many (11 percent) say it isn’t a moral issue to alter one’s gender through hormones or surgery.
“This reflects a changing worldview,” McConnell said. “A growing percentage of Americans don’t believe in right and wrong. They don’t believe there’s absolute truth – and if there’s no absolute truth, then they’re reluctant to talk about morality.”
Evangelical believers are dramatically more likely than other Americans to voice moral concerns about gender change, the survey shows.
More than half of people with evangelical beliefs (54 percent) say it’s wrong to identify with a different gender. Only about a quarter of Catholics (26 percent), a third of those in non-Christian faiths such as Judaism or Islam (35 percent), and a fifth of the nonreligious (20 percent) share that view.
Excluding evangelical believers, three-quarters of Americans cite no moral qualms about changing gender identification.
Americans are slightly more concerned about altering gender through surgery or hormones, but it remains mostly an evangelical issue.