By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com June 11 2014 6:00 AM ET
As CBS Sunday Morning tackled the topic of transgender children last weekend, the network also released the results of a poll highlighting the public's reluctance to truly accept trans identities in children.
The CBS poll, conducted in March and released this week, found that only 26 percent of respondents believe trans students should be given access to restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, whereas 59 percent of those polled believe trans individuals should be forced to use facilities of their birth-assigned gender. Fifteen percent of poll respondents either did not know or did not answer the question.
Women were more likely than men to believe that trans students should be given access gender-appropriate facilities, with 29 percent of women in favor of transgender-affirmative public accommodations compared to 23 percent of men. Thirty-three percent of self-identified Democrats support trans students, compared to only 16 percent of Republicans.
The CBS Sunday Morning segment (watch below) highlighted the heartwarming story of mother-daughter team Ofelia and Zoey, profiled the work of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, and spoke with Johanna Olson, a physician at the Los Angeles Children's Hospital. The segment offered a positive, affirming take on the struggles faced by transgender children on a regular basis.
CBS also profiled Brad Dacus of the actively antitrans Pacific Justice Institute, a hate group, as classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization. Last year the institute spent significant resources mounting a disinformation campaign against one transgender student in Colorado, resulting in her being placed on suicide watch. Additionally, it led the failed effort to repeal a California law designed to ensure the well-being of trans students in grades K-12.
The institute's tactic is similar to that of other antitransgender organizations, often resorting to fearmongering and outright lies about the potential dangers involved in providing trans children with safe passage in public accommodations settings. These tactics, often described as the "bathroom meme," rely on thoroughly debunked myths involving a fear that people will claim to be transgender simply as a means to gain access to restrooms and locker rooms so that they can more easily assault unsuspecting women. But perhaps, as the poll indicates, the tactics are having some success.