Survey: Slight Majority Supports Keeping Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation Out of the Classroom

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday May 25, 2022

Survey: Slight Majority Supports Keeping Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation Out of the Classroom
  (Source:Getty Images)

A new survey indicates that a slight majority of Americans don't want issues of sexual orientation or gender identity to have a place in the classroom, political news site the Hill reported.

Referencing results of a Morning Consult Poll that were published May 23, the site noted that 44% of the poll's respondents "said they are opposed to either topic being addressed in their child's classroom."

Though that percentage falls below the halfway mark, it does slightly outstrip the 41% of respondents who said they favor allowing LGBTQ+ topics to be discussed in schools.

Opinions diverged along party lines, with 61% of parents who are Democrats saying they favored classroom discussion of the "LGBTQ civil rights movement," and 25% opposing such discussions, while only 26% of parents who are Republican expressed similar support for such classroom discussions and 59% said they were in opposition."

In both cases, the percentage of those who didn't know or had no opinion was about the same — 14% of Democrats and 15% of Republicans. Meanwhile, political independents were much more evenly divided, with 44% in favor of classroom material addressing the "LGBT civil rights movement," 38% in opposition, and 18% expressed no opinion.

The questions involved students who are age 18 or younger.

At the same time, the poll found that parents across the political spectrum overwhelmingly "trust their teachers to act in good faith," with 89% of Democratic parents and 82% of Republican parents agreeing with this in an implicit rejection of the notion, peddled by some hard-right politicians, that teachers are attempting to "indoctrinate" America's youth.

A majority of parents also agreed that teachers do not influence the sexual orientations or gender identities of their students

Moreover, a growing share of Americans —"including parents, Republican and Democratic alike — have largely become more comfortable with increasing LGBTQ prominence in everyday life over the past few years, putting the GOP in tricky political territory," Morning Consult reported.

LGBTQ Victory Fund head Annise Parker told Morning Consult, "One of the reasons we've made such great progress over the years in terms of how the public perceives people who are gay and lesbian is because of proximity — knowledge of people coming out individually."

However, Parker added, "The transgender issue is still unknown for a lot of folks," with the result being that politicians promoting Florida-style "Don't Say Gay" laws "have been especially able to wedge Americans' still-mixed views about rights for transgender people."

That said, the Hill noted that "Roughly 30 percent of Republican parents told Morning Consult that they do not personally know or 'associate' with an LGBTQ-identifying person."

"Those parents were more likely to say they are 'uncomfortable' having an LGBTQ+ person working with their children."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.