Predictors of Prejudice against Transgender Individuals
Transgender individuals, especially transgender people of color, are subjected to an immense amount of violence, including high rates of murder. Transgender people are likely to experience high levels of sexual violence, threats, and discrimination. Given this, it is important to better understand what causes prejudice against this marginalized community in the hopes of developing strategies to decrease the oppression transgender people face.
In some of our team’s research, we wanted to understand more about what drives this prejudice. In a study conducted by Jae A. Puckett, L. Zachary DuBois, & Cylie Hanson, they examined a number of factors that could play a role in these biases. In collaboration with Terra Dunn and Kelsi Kuehn, they looked at the associations between prejudice against transgender people and historical and behavioral factors that could promote prejudice – more specifically history of family violence and aggression proneness. They also examined how prejudice related to contact with transgender people and education about transgender individuals. They expected that contact with and education about transgender people may help to buffer some of the effects of other factors and reduce prejudice.
In their online sample of 360 cisgender participants, they found that aggression proneness was positively correlated with prejudice towards transgender individuals. Participants who had personal contact with transgender people and who had received education surrounding transgender issues had lower levels of prejudice compared to those who did not have this contact or education. The research team found that the strongest predictor of prejudice was education on issues that transgender people face. They also found that having personal contact with a transgender person may lessen the impact of aggression proneness and history of family violence in relation to prejudice – meaning that this may reduce the likelihood of these other factors leading to the development of prejudice.
It can be seen through this study that while education about TGD individuals can provide a buffer for harmful behaviors and interactions, predictors of prejudice must be observed through a systemic lens. Offering education about transgender people, including their history, explanations of transgender identities, and the prejudice transgender people face not only in everyday life, but on the systemic level, can be extremely valuable and beneficial in reducing bias.
The full publication about this study will be coming out soon in Journal of Homosexuality.