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President Trump’s Transgender Military Ban Could Widen a Generational Divide

2 minute read

President Trump’s ban on transgender Americans serving in the military will likely be received in very different ways by baby boomers who backed him and millennials who did not.

While there are many boomers who have come out as transgender, and even more with transgender friends and family, millennials as a whole are far more accepting of a wider range of gender identity.

According to a survey commissioned by the LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD and shared exclusively with TIME for our March cover story on gender nonconformity, 20% of millennials identify as something other than straight and cisgender, compared with just 7% of boomers.

Some of those boomers, meantime, are not happy with a growing societal acceptance of transgender individuals.

The GLAAD survey also showed that older Americans were more likely than younger people to express discomfort with those who “do not conform to traditional ideas about gender,” while millennials were twice as likely to know someone who was bisexual, asexual, queer or questioning and twice as likely to consider themselves transgender or gender non-conforming.

When I met with a group of Republican women in Cobb County, Georgia, shortly before the election, one of them told me something that now seems especially relevant. “We want men to be men and women to be women,” said Bobbie Frantz, a woman in her 70s who planned to vote for Trump. “We do not want women to be men.”

For Trump, older Americans are part of his electoral base. According to exit polls compiled by the New York Times, 53% of voters over 45 voted for Trump, compared to 42% of those aged 30-44 and just 37% of voters under 29.

If anything, Trump’s decision to bar transgender servicemembers is likely to widen that generational divide.

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Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com