• Undergraduate Students’ Gender Self-Esteem and Attitudes Towards Transmen, Transwomen, Gay Men, and Lesbian Women

      Glotfelter, Michael Ann (2012-10-22)
      Research on individuals who do not conform to traditional sexual norms has increased over the past two decades, but there still remains little research on attitudes towards transpeople (i.e., individuals who violate gender norms). The goal of the current research is to contribute to knowledge regarding attitudes towards transpeople who continue to be subjected to prejudice, violence, and discrimination based on non-conformity. The current research explores and compares gender differences in attitudes towards lesbian women, gay men, transwomen (i.e., male-to-female transsexuals or men who deviate greatly from male gender norms and a male gender identity), and transmen (i.e., female-to-male transsexuals or women who deviate greatly from female gender norms and a female gender identity). Social Identity Theory (SIT), as it relates to gender self-esteem, is used as a theoretical framework to help explain prejudice towards lesbian women, gay men, and transpeople. The possible relationship between gender self-esteem and prejudice is also examined. The sample consisted of 402 heterosexual undergraduates with 195 (48.5%) women and 207 (51.5%) men. Participants completed the Genderism and Transphobia Scale, the Transphobia Scale, the Modern Homonegativity Scale, a gender specific Collective Self-Esteem Scale, and the Social Desirability Scale-17. Consistent with other research, heterosexual men reported significantly higher levels of prejudice toward lesbian women, gay men and transpeople compared to women. Men reported significantly more negative attitudes toward gay men compared to lesbian women, and reported more possible violence toward and discomfort around transwomen than transmen. In contrast to men, heterosexual women reported similar levels of sexual prejudice toward gay men and lesbian women and more discomfort around a transman than a transwoman. Both men and women reported more teasing of transwomen compared to transmen. Men with high gender self-esteem reported more sexual prejudice toward gay men and lesbian. These results were not found for heterosexual women who reported high gender self-esteem.. This research will contribute to knowledge and awareness of what factors affect and predict negative attitudes, prejudice, and violence against sexual and gender minorities. This current research suggests some similarities as well as differences in the prediction of sexual prejudice and transprejudice. Additionally, the results suggest that SIT can be a useful framework to begin to understand both sexual prejudice and transprejudice. Furthermore, although there are some similarities in the predictors of sexual prejudice and transprejudice for heterosexual women and men, the differences are important enough to suggest some divergence in how social identities interact with gender to influence prejudicial attitudes. Finally, greater awareness regarding sexual prejudice and transprejudice can lead to more effective interventions to decrease prejudice and violence.