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Critique Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

An Argument for Separate Analyses of Attitudes Toward Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Men, Bisexual Women, MtF and FtM Transgender Individuals

By Meredith G. F. Worthen, 2012

While past research has certainly investigated a variety of correlates of U.S. attitudes toward lesbians, gays, bisexual men, bisexual women, male-to-female (MtF) and female-to-male (FtM) transgender (LGBT) individuals, there are no U.S. quantitative studies that could be located that examined attitudes toward each of these groups separately. This is especially important because efforts to combat prejudices are likely to be most successful if they are based in research that explores how attitudes are both similar and different across specified targets of prejudice. Toward that goal, this essay underscores the significance of examining U.S. attitudes toward LGBT individuals as separate con- structs. Both the gender and sexual orientation of the target of prejudice and the gender and sexual orientation of the respondent are highlighted as important constructs that should be considered when investigating U.S. attitudes to- ward LGBT individuals. First, I review previous U.S. studies that have examined attitudes toward LGBT individuals. Second, I offer arguments for how the intersections of gender and sexual orientation may affect attitudes toward LGBT individuals. Third, I discuss future considerations in studies of attitudes toward LGBT individuals in the context of multiple intersectionalities. I suggest that U.S. initiatives to reduce sexual stigma, gender nonconformity stigma, and transgender stigma should be grounded in research that highlights prejudicial attitudes as they vary by the target of prejudice and the respondents’ characteristics.

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