New Study Says Trans Media Representation Can Change the Political Landscape
by Kate Sosin Oeser
May 04, 2018
A new study out of LGBTQ think tank the Williams Institute makes a compelling case for increased transgender media representations.
Merely seeing transgender people actually increases support for transgender rights, according to the study.
“These studies may suggest that that exposure may help alleviate people’s own level of anti-transgender bias,” says Andrew Flores, a visiting scholar at the Williams Institute.
Other studies have already shown that that exposure to LGB people increases support for gay rights. But little research has been done the ways those images might impact transgender people.
The study looked at more than 1,100 people. It found that simply showing people images of transgender and gender-nonconforming people reduced transphobia. That drop in transphobia translated to elevated support for trans equality.
The study revealed something else that may surprise. The attitudes of participants toward trans subjects didn’t substantially shift based on gender conformity. Both images showing people who fit gender stereotypes and people who were less gender-conforming prompted a reduction in transphobia. The study notes that the findings don’t mean that gender non-conforming people are less likely to be discriminated against in public such as in restrooms.
“These are encouraging findings,” Flores said in a statement. “As research continues to examine the effects of increased knowledge and depictions of transgender people in mass media, this study further suggests that these developments can have a positive impact on the rights and well-being of transgender people.”