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Discrimination and prejudice toward transgender individuals are pervasive in the United States. Stereotypes, or myths, may partially explain why anti-transgender prejudice is so prevalent. The present study recruited a community sample online via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (N = 1450) to determine potential myths held by the American public about transgender people. In a between-subjects 5x6 factorial design, participants read a description of a target described as either: mentally ill, HIV-positive, a sexual predator, an ally of transgender people, or a person who is unfair to others (control). They then completed an intuitive judgment task regarding the target’s gender and provided feeling thermometer ratings for a variety of groups. Results indicate that mental illness is perceived as most representative of transgender people, while HIV and sexual predation do not appear to be representative of transgender people. Consistent with previous literature, feeling thermometer ratings were significantly lower toward transgender people than for other gender groups and were significantly negatively correlated with participant religiosity and conservatism. We discuss these findings in terms of the gender binary and present implications for gender-related stigma as well as the potential role of mental illness in explaining anti-transgender prejudice.



Thesis Comittee

Nesa Wasarhaley (Thesis Director)

Teresa King

Joseph Schwab

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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