The acronym’s forgotten letter: Beliefs about transgender men and women
Psychologists have long recognized the role of stereotyping social minority groups. The current sociopolitical environment of hostility toward transgender individuals would suggest that transgender stereotypes are negative. The purpose of this study was to explore the stereotypes of transgender women and men and examine the content of these stereotypes in comparison to cisgender women and men. It was expected that stereotypes would reflect that transgender individuals are social outsiders who do not fit their assigned gender role, placing them in the low warmth – low competence cluster of the stereotype content model. Multidimensional scaling and cluster analyses revealed a clear difference between the stereotypes of cisgender women and men versus transgender women and men. Specifically, three groups of stereotypes emerged for women, men, and transgender. In examination of the first hypothesis, transgender women and men were disproportionately assigned traits rated negatively and low in competence. Transgender women and men appeared to be assigned traits rated neutral or low in warmth. In examination of the second hypotheses, the feminine stereotypes of cisgender women and the masculine stereotypes of cisgender men were distinct from the non-gendered stereotypes of their transgender counterparts. In examination of the third hypothesis, stereotype content dimensions of valence, warmth, competence, and gender were somewhat interrelated as expected; however, these dimensions were all distinct and uniquely useful in examining stereotype content. Also, as the fourth hypotheses predicted, various participant variables, such as sex, sex role attitudes, transphobia, social distance, and gender self-concept influenced their perception of stereotypes.