Title of Abstract

Young Adults’ Perceptions of a Mid- and Post-Transition Transgender Woman

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study investigated whether transgender alignment processes impact perceptions of the transgender individual. It is hypothesized that a transgender individual would be perceived more positively after transitioning to the new identity than in the midst of transitioning. Participants were 83 adults with a mean age of 20.90 (SD = 2.56). There was a diverse sample; however, the majority were cisgender women (58%), Caucasians (49%), and heterosexuals (66%). Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: 1) a picture of a mid-transition transgender woman labeled as a “transgender woman”; 2) a picture of the same woman post-transition labeled as a “transgender woman”; 3) the same picture of the post-transition woman labeled as a “woman.” Participants provided their opinions regarding the woman and then responded to scales to assess their attitudes toward transgender individuals, self-esteem, and political views. Young adults reported more interest about the mid-transition transgender woman, but also perceived her as less attractive and felt uncomfortable evaluating her. Interestingly, even seeing the mid-transition picture elicited more negative attitudes toward transgender individuals than viewing the post-transition woman. In other words, adults were more positive when the pictures more closely matched a single gender identity. Personal experience with transgender individuals related to more positive attitudes. Democrats, who tend to be supportive of LGBTQ+ rights, were more supportive of transgender individuals than Republicans. Women and those with lower self-esteem also reported more positive attitudes toward transgender individuals, possibly because these two groups have empathy toward those who are marginalized at times by society.

Previously Presented/Performed?

Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 2020; Sixth Annual Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors (SOURCE), Winthrop University, April 2020

Start Date

24-4-2020 12:00 AM

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Apr 24th, 12:00 AM

Young Adults’ Perceptions of a Mid- and Post-Transition Transgender Woman

This study investigated whether transgender alignment processes impact perceptions of the transgender individual. It is hypothesized that a transgender individual would be perceived more positively after transitioning to the new identity than in the midst of transitioning. Participants were 83 adults with a mean age of 20.90 (SD = 2.56). There was a diverse sample; however, the majority were cisgender women (58%), Caucasians (49%), and heterosexuals (66%). Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: 1) a picture of a mid-transition transgender woman labeled as a “transgender woman”; 2) a picture of the same woman post-transition labeled as a “transgender woman”; 3) the same picture of the post-transition woman labeled as a “woman.” Participants provided their opinions regarding the woman and then responded to scales to assess their attitudes toward transgender individuals, self-esteem, and political views. Young adults reported more interest about the mid-transition transgender woman, but also perceived her as less attractive and felt uncomfortable evaluating her. Interestingly, even seeing the mid-transition picture elicited more negative attitudes toward transgender individuals than viewing the post-transition woman. In other words, adults were more positive when the pictures more closely matched a single gender identity. Personal experience with transgender individuals related to more positive attitudes. Democrats, who tend to be supportive of LGBTQ+ rights, were more supportive of transgender individuals than Republicans. Women and those with lower self-esteem also reported more positive attitudes toward transgender individuals, possibly because these two groups have empathy toward those who are marginalized at times by society.