Transgender people are at 25 times greater risk of abuse, assault and suicide than the general population, the study authors note. And as transgender rights come increasingly into the public eye, advocates fear that this could prompt a backlash against an already marginalized community.
During the south Florida effort, Broockman and Kalla set up an experiment in which 56 canvassers went door-to-door and encouraged active perspective-taking with 501 voters. They were asked to think of a time when they had felt mistreated for being different. The scientists also canvassed a control group of respondents about recycling. The researchers followed up with online surveys at three days, three weeks, six weeks and three months.
The scientists found that those who were asked to do analogic perspective-taking were significantly more likely to exhibit a higher tolerance toward transgender people than those who were in the control group. The effect, the researchers said, represented an even greater attitude change than the shift in American attitudes between 1998 and 2012 toward gays and lesbians.
“They’ve made their entire process enormously transparent,” Paluck said in an interview, “so that’s one reason to trust in the results. They’re part of a growing number of social scientists who have been responding to concerns about psychology, social science and economics and how untransparent their results are.”
Full Story Here. The Advocate has also covered this story. I don’t find this surprising in the least. The governor of South Dakota ended up vetoing their transgender hate legislation after meeting with transgender representatives and allies. I expect most people have a nebulous, fearsome image in their heads which is based on absolute ignorance. Being faced with regular people is probably enough of a shock to get people thinking.
Unfortunately, bigotry is still going like a world on fire, and Kansas, Tennessee, and SC are all jumping on board.