Heterosexuals’ Attitudes Toward Transgender People: Findings from a National Probability Sample of U.S. Adults
- 5.1k Downloads
Using data from a national probability sample of heterosexual U.S. adults (N = 2,281), the present study describes the distribution and correlates of men’s and women’s attitudes toward transgender people. Feeling thermometer ratings of transgender people were strongly correlated with attitudes toward gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, but were significantly less favorable. Attitudes toward transgender people were more negative among heterosexual men than women. Negative attitudes were associated with endorsement of a binary conception of gender; higher levels of psychological authoritarianism, political conservatism, and anti-egalitarianism, and (for women) religiosity; and lack of personal contact with sexual minorities. In regression analysis, sexual prejudice accounted for much of the variance in transgender attitudes, but respondent gender, educational level, authoritarianism, anti-egalitarianism, and (for women) religiosity remained significant predictors with sexual prejudice statistically controlled. Implications and directions for future research on attitudes toward transgender people are discussed.
KeywordsTransgender Attitudes Sexual prejudice Public opinion
Data collection was funded by a grant to Gregory Herek from the Gill Foundation. The authors thank Jonathan Mohr for his invaluable comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
- Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Altemeyer, R. (1996). The authoritarian specter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- American Association for Public Opinion Research. (2006). Standard definitions: Final dispositions of case codes and outcome rates for surveys (4th ed.). Lenexa, KS: Author.Google Scholar
- American National Election Studies. (2011). Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Political Studies. Retrieved from American National Election Studies website: http://www.electionstudies.org/.
- Bryant, K., & Schilt, K. (2008). Transgender people in the U.S. military: Summary and analysis of the 2008 transgender American Veterans Association survey. Retrieved from Palm Center website: http://www.palmcenter.org/node/1137.
- Chauncey, G., Jr. (1982-1983). From sexual inversion to homosexuality: Medicine and the changing conceptualization of female deviance. Salmagundi, 58-59, 114-146Google Scholar
- Duckitt, J. H. (1992). The social psychology of prejudice. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
- Fausto-Sterling, A. (2000). Sexing the body: Gender politics and the construction of sexuality. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Flynn, T. (2006). The ties that [don't] bind: Transgender family law and the unmaking of families. In P. Currah, R. M. Juang, & S. P. Minter (Eds.), Transgender rights (pp. 32–50). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Freud, S. (1953). Three essays on the theory of sexuality. In J. Strachey (Ed. & Trans.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 7, pp. 123-243). London: Hogarth Press. (Original work published in 1905)Google Scholar
- Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Grant, J. M., Mottet, L. A., & Tanis, J. (2011). Injustice at every turn: A report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Retrieved from National Center for Transgender Equality & National Gay and Lesbian Task Force website: http://transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf.
- Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Schick, V., Sanders, S. A., Dodge, B., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2010). Sexual behavior in the United States: Results from a national probability sample of men and women ages 14-94. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7, 255–265. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02012.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Herek, G. M. (1994). Assessing heterosexuals' attitudes toward lesbians and gay men: A review of empirical research with the ATLG scale. In B. Greene & G. M. Herek (Eds.), Lesbian and gay psychology: Theory, research, and clinical applications (pp. 206–228). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Herek, G. M. (2009a). Sexual prejudice. In T. Nelson (Ed.), Handbook of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination (pp. 439–465). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Holbrook, A. L., Krosnick, J. A., & Pfent, A. M. (2008). Response rates in surveys by the news media and government contractor survey research firms. In J. M. Lepkowski, C. Tucker, J. M. Brick, E. de Leeuw, L. Japec, P. J. Lavrakas, . . . R. L. Sangster (Eds.), Telephone survey methodology. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Jenness, V., Maxson, C., Matsuda, K., & Sumner, J. (2007). Violence in California correctional facilities: An empirical examination of sexual assault. Retrieved from Center for Evidence-Based Corrections website: http://ucicorrections.seweb.uci.edu/pdf/FINAL_PREA_REPORT.pdf.
- Jordan-Young, R. M. (2010). Brain storm: The flaws in the science of sex differences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Juang, R. M. (2006). Transgendering the politics of recognition. In P. Currah, R. M. Juang, & S. P. Minter (Eds.), Transgender rights (pp. 706–719). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Katz, J. N. (1995). The invention of heterosexuality. New York: Dutton.Google Scholar
- Kimmel, M. (1997). Masculinity as homophobia: Fear, shame and silence in the construction of gender identity. In M. M. Gergen & S. N. Davis (Eds.), Toward a new psychology of gender (pp. 223–242). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Kite, M. E., & Whitley, B. E. (1998). Do heterosexual women and men differ in their attitudes toward homosexuality? A conceptual and methodological analysis. In G. M. Herek (Ed.), Stigma and sexual orientation: Understanding prejudice against lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (pp. 39–61). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Knowledge Networks. (2011). Knowledge Networks bibliography: Articles and presentations based on KN collected panel data, analysis, or methodology. Retrieved from Knowledge Networks website: http://www.knowledgenetworks.com/ganp/docs/KN-Bibliography.pdf.
- Lee, E. S., & Forthofer, R. N. (2006). Analyzing complex survey data (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Lev, A. I. (2004). Transgender emergence: Therapeutic guidelines for working with gender-variant people and their families. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Maio, G. R., & Olson, J. M. (Eds.). (2000). Why we evaluate: Functions of attitudes. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Massey, J. T., & Botman, S. L. (1988). Weighting adjustments for random digit dialed surveys. In R. M. Groves, P. P. Biemer, J. T. Massey, W. L. I. Nichols, & J. Waksberg (Eds.), Telephone survey methodology (pp. 143–160). New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
- Meyerowitz, J. (2002). How sex changed: A history of transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Namaste, V. K. (2000). Invisible lives: The erasure of transsexual and transgendered people: University of Chicago PressGoogle Scholar
- Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. (2010). Religious groups' official positions on same-sex marriage. Retrieved from the Pew Research Center website: http://pewforum.org/Gay-Marriage-and-Homosexuality/Religious-Groups-Official-Positions-on-Same-Sex-Marriage.aspx.
- Raymond, J. (1979). The transsexual empire: The making of the she-male. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
- Stone, S. (1991). The empire strikes back: A posttranssexual manifesto. In J. Epstein & K. Straub (Eds.), Body guards: The cultural politics of gender ambiguity (pp. 280–304). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Stryker, S. (1994). My words to Victor Frankenstein above the village of Chamounix: Performing transgender rage. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 1, 237–254.Google Scholar
- Stryker, S. (2006). (De)subjugated knowledges: An introduction to transgender studies. In S. Stryker & S. Whittle (Eds.), The transgender studies reader (pp. 1–17). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Valentine, D. (2007). Imagining transgender: An ethnography of a category. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Weeks, J. (1977). Coming out: Homosexual politics in Britain from the nineteenth century to the present. London: Quartet Books Ltd.Google Scholar