The Price of Transgender Military Service: Do Public Opinions on Government Defense Spending Predict Support for Allowing Transgender People to Serve?
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While a significant body of research exists regarding public attitudes toward the transgender community, little has been conducted specifically concerning views on transgender military service. Existing scholarship suggests that, much as with the gay and lesbian community, public attitudes toward transgender people are tied to one’s age, sex, political identity, and guiding social values. This paper examines whether public support for transgender military service is tempered by concerns regarding the potential military budget impacts alleged by some in politics, or simply driven by the same factors that predict attitudes toward the transgender community more generally. To that end, this study compares Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression models of both public feelings toward the transgender community as a whole and public support for transgender military service. The results provide insufficient evidence to support the hypothesis that those who feel the government should increase military spending will be less likely to support transgender military service. Rather, predictors of public support for transgender military service parallel those for feelings toward transgender people more broadly, without regard for purported military budget impacts.