There’s More Than Meets the Eye: Facial Appearance and Evaluations of Transsexual People
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Recent events have drawn attention to the prejudice and discrimination faced by transpeople; however, there is limited research on attitudes toward transpeople. We studied the effects of facial appearance on the evaluations of transsexuals in 239 heterosexual undergraduate students from the midwestern United States. Men had significantly more negative evaluations than women. The gender of the transsexual (male-to-female or female-to-male) had limited effects on evaluations; however, the transsexual whose facial appearance was congruent with their desired gender was perceived as more attractive than the transsexual whose facial appearance was incongruent. Negative evaluations were correlated with higher levels of transphobia and sexual prejudice. Further investigation is needed on the factors that influence prejudicial attitudes toward transpeople, including physical appearance.
KeywordsTranssexual Transphobia Gender Physical appearance
The authors thank June Sprock, Kevin Bolinskey, Eric Anderson, Irene Frieze, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier drafts. These data are based on the first author’s doctoral dissertation. Portions of these results were presented at the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, Illinois on April 30-May 2, 2009.
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