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Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences

Heterosexuals’ Attitudes Toward Transgender People: Findings from a National Probability Sample of U.S. Adults

By Aaron T. Norton and Gregory M. Herek, 2013

Using data from a national probability sample of heterosexual U.S. adults (N02,281), the present study describes the distribution and correlates of men’s and wom- en’s attitudes toward transgender people. Feeling thermom- eter ratings of transgender people were strongly correlated with attitudes toward gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, but were significantly less favorable. Attitudes toward transgen- der people were more negative among heterosexual men than women. Negative attitudes were associated with en- dorsement 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 anal- ysis, 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.

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