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Gallup Confirms What Americans Believe: Keep Women’s Sports Female

When it comes to gender in sports, most Americans do not want male athletes to compete against women and girls.
Grant Atkinson
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An all-weather running track is seen on a sunny day

In April 2023, 14 state legislators who identify as “transgender” or “nonbinary” sent a letter to President Joe Biden. Their concern? His proposed rule allowing men to compete in women’s sports didn’t go far enough.

Under Biden’s proposal, “elementary school students would generally be able to participate on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity.” That is already a radical position.

But the rule would leave room for high schools and colleges to “limit participation of some transgender students” on a case-by-case basis. Under the rule, a school could look at factors such as fairness and safety in a particular sport to determine whether male athletes could compete against females.

Even though this proposed rule allows schools to permit male athletes to play on female teams, it wasn’t enough for the group of lawmakers from 11 different states.

“[T]here is no such thing as an acceptable ‘compromise’ that limits transgender Americans access to equal rights,” they wrote in the letter to Biden.

This position is one that is increasingly being pushed by activists: athletes should be able to pick and choose at will whether they’ll play as a man or a woman, regardless of the biological difference between the sexes.

But despite what the establishment media and some legislators would have us believe, most Americans do not support the radical position that male athletes should be allowed to compete against females, or vice versa.

Americans’ beliefs on gender in sports

According to a new Gallup poll, 69 percent of Americans believe that athletes who identify as transgender should only compete on teams that match their biological sex, or what Gallup calls “birth gender.” This represents a 7 percent increase from when the same question was asked in May 2021.

Meanwhile, just 26 percent of Americans said athletes should be able to play on teams designated for the opposite sex. This was down from 34 percent in 2021. Gallup’s poll was conducted from May 1-24, 2023, and it carried a sampling error of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points with a 95 percent confidence level.

A vast majority (93 percent) of Republicans said athletes should compete on teams that match their biological sex. In addition, 67 percent of independents felt the same way.

Even among Democrats, 48 percent said athletes need to play in sports matching their biological sex. 47 percent said they should be able to play in sports according to their gender identity, and about 6 percent were undecided.

Chances are, you’ve heard the argument that those who believe male athletes shouldn’t compete against females are simply ignorant. The claim is that if these people got to know a person who identifies as transgender and understand their feelings, their views on males in women’s sports may change.

But the results of the Gallup poll do not support this argument.

Among people who said they knew a person who identified as transgender, 64 percent still said athletes should only compete on teams matching their biological sex. Just 30 percent said they should be allowed to compete based on how they identify.

Once again, these numbers showed that more and more Americans are opposing male athletes competing against women. In 2021, 53 percent of respondents who knew a transgender person said athletes should compete based on their biological sex, while 40 percent held the opposite view.


Americans know that it is unfair for male athletes to compete in women’s sports. This fact is rooted in biological reality.

When lawmakers push policies that would force females to compete against males, they are not just taking away opportunities for women and girls. They are also ignoring the views of the people they are supposed to represent.

Alliance Defending Freedom understands how important it is to protect fairness in women’s sports, and we continue to represent athletes like Selina Soule, Lainey Armistead, and many more as we seek to ensure that the law recognizes the reality that men and women are different.

Grant Atkinson serves as Jr. Digital Writer at Alliance Defending Freedom
Grant Atkinson
Digital Writer
Grant serves as a Digital Writer at Alliance Defending Freedom.