Masters Thesis

Knowledge and attitudes toward trans persons

Beginning in the late 1980s, after Transsexualism was added to the DSM-III, research on issues relating to trans persons (a term that encompasses people who identify as transgendered, transsexual, or as any other significant form of deviation from gender norms) is still relatively new. However, over the past few decades researchers have found that trans persons are at a higher risk for abuse and alienation from the public, including physical and verbal victimization, as well as sexual assault (Clements-Nolle, Marx, & Katz, 2006; Lombardi, 2001; Denny, Green, & Cole, 2007). The current study aimed to measure attitudes towards trans persons and discover possible safeguards against transphobia and discrimination. Using 126 Humboldt State University students, the current study examined attitudes toward trans persons using the Transphobia Scale and Attitudes Toward Transsexualism National Survey. (Landen & Innala, 2000; Nagoshi, Adams, Terrell, Hill, Brzuzy, & Nagoshi, 2008). Unlike previous research using the Transphobia Scale, participants in the study were significantly less transphobic, and men and women did not differ in their levels of transphobia. The current study also showed that having met a trans person, having had a relationship with a trans person, and having had previous contact with a wide variety of trans information sources in the media were associated with lower levels of transphobia. The Attitudes towards Transsexualism National Survey indicated that the majority of participants in the current study and the sample in a national survey in Sweden tended to agree on transsexual issues. Both groups favored giving transsexuals’ the right to change their bodies, names, and identities, the right to get married, and the right to work with children. The results of this survey indicate that trans research may generalize across western countries.