The present survey study examined the attitudes of U.S. adults toward transgender children and adolescents, as well as their behavioral intentions, in two hypothetical scenarios involving gender variant youth. Participants recruited online (N = 281) reported generally favorable attitudes toward transgender minors, but expressed some hesitation to allow a transgender child to use the restroom aligned with their gender as opposed to their birth sex or to share a room with same gender peers on a school trip, possibly due to conflating gender identity with sexual orientation in these situations. Attitudes were less positive in respondents who reported a religious affiliation, conservative social political views, and stronger conformity to certain traditional gender norms—particularly in men. Even after controlling for these factors, stronger belief in environmental versus biological causes of transgender identity was linked to more negative attitudes. Participants’ behavioral intentions were driven partly by their attitudes and causal attributions, but also by their age and, at least for women, personal connections to the transgender community. We discuss implications for the discourse surrounding transgender youth and the need for educating the public on the development of gender identity as well as the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 22, 2016
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