It may not be long until a majority of U.S. young adults agree with what trans advocates have been saying for decades: Gender is more complicated than simply "male" or "female."
According to Fusion magazine's Massive Millenial Poll, 50 percent of the 1,000 people between the ages of 18 and 34 who were interviewed by telephone agreed with the statement "Gender is a spectrum, and some people fall outside conventional categories." Before answering, interviewees were informed, "Some countries, including India, recognize a third gender that is neither male nor female," and were also given the option of agreeing with other statements: "There are only two genders, male and female" (46 percent agreed) or "Don't know" (4 percent).
Fusion also found that the belief that gender lies on a spectrum varies by gender, race, and region. Its poll found that 57 percent of female-identified respondents see gender as nonbinary, compared to 44 percent of male-identified respondents; 55 percent of white respondents see gender as nonbinary, compared to 47 percent of Latino respondents and 32 percent of black respondents; and 58 percent of Northeasterners see gender as nonbinary, compared to 42 percent of Southerners.
Millennials' growing recognition in nonbinary genders may have positive implications for the future of transgender rights as well as simply allowing all people to feel less constricted by gendered social conventions. Fusion notes that universities may be the first places to see such changes, with the increasing presence of gender-neutral restrooms, ID cards, and on-campus housing hinting at greater acceptance of gender variance.