If you are a heterosexual cisgendered person who only wishes to date heterosexual cisgendered people, then shame on you for dehumanizing transgenders and the non-binary, according to a recent article published in Psychology Today.
The article explores a study written by Karen L. Blair and Rhea Ashley Hoskins in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, which essentially chastises people as bigots for the sin of being attracted to a man who is an actual man or a woman who is an actual woman — while also arguing that the prevailing attitude contributes to the psychological harm of transgenderism.
When first conducting their study, Blair and Hoskins asked close to 1,000 participants what kind of partner they preferred and gave them the following options:
- a cisgender woman
- a cisgender man
- a transgender woman
- a transgender man
- a person with a non-binary gender identification
Unsurprisingly, 87.5% of those polled said they prefer the first two options depending on which way they swing: Cisgender man or woman, respectively. Non-binary and transgender people were at the bottom and typically were only chosen by people who identified as bi-sexual, gay, or some other type of sexuality. For heteros, the results were other cisgender heteros. The authors find this deeply problematic and believe that attitudes need to change.
"If trans and non-binary people lack access to one of the most stable sources of social support, this could explain some of the existing health disparities within trans communities," they write. "Looking more closely at the patterns of responses, it also became clear that individuals were least likely to express an interest in dating trans women, even if their sexual identity would otherwise indicate an interest in women (i.e., straight men, lesbian women, or queer/bisexual individuals). Indeed, nearly 20% fewer people indicated an interest in trans women than would have been expected based on the sexual identities of the individuals within the sample."
The authors also examined participants' responses in a similar study by the Canadian Psychological Association's annual convention, which yielded similar results. However, the authors blamed this on several factors outside of nature itself: "Dehumanization/prejudice, uncertainty or lack of knowledge, and issues related to bodies and reproduction."
"The most common reason for being unwilling to consider dating transgender or non-binary people was that participants felt that they lacked information and understanding of what precisely these kinds of identities mean within the context of dating," the authors continue. "For example, many simply stated that they had never really considered the question before and were unsure of what it would mean to be in a relationship with a transgender or non-binary individual. Other reasons, however, were less about lacking information, and more about a strong dislike for trans people."
The authors scold participants for saying transgenders have "make believe" identities or for wanting to date people with whom they could have actual biological children, characterizing their language as "dehumanizing."
"A minority of individuals mentioned a desire to only date people with whom they could have biologically related children, however, often these reasons were still expressed using dehumanizing language, such as saying that a trans man 'was not a natural man" or a 'real man' and that therefore it would not be possible to have children with him," they write.
The authors conclude that while they cannot mandate who people should and should not date, they stress that transgenders dating hetero cisgenders should be seen as a sign of progress every bit as much as interracial dating.
"Just as sociologists have tracked acceptance of inter-racial relationships as a metric of overall societal acceptance of racial minorities, future fluctuations in the extent to which trans and non-binary individuals are included within the intimate world of dating may help to illuminate progress (or lack thereof) with respect to fully including trans and non-binary individuals within our society," they conclude.