Proposal for the 2016 Pilot Study: The New Identity Frontier: Explaining Public Opinion toward Transgender People & Rights

Over the past several years, attitudes toward LGBT Americans have received increased attention in political science, building on decades of existing scholarship on the LGBT community elsewhere in the social sciences (see Vallely 2012). The vast majority of this work, however, can be more accurately described as attitudes toward LGB Americans, often entirely neglecting the T in the acronym. While LGB rights have seen recent victories and explicit discrimination is on the decline in many areas, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals (TGN) continue to face overt discrimination at home, school and work, at doctor’s offices, and at the hands of landlords and police officers. While TGN individuals are beginning to enter public consciousness—e.g. former Olympian Caitlin Jenner; imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning; Laverne Cox and her character Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black; and through appearances of transgender individuals on popular programs by author Janet Mock on The Colbert Report— they remain astoundingly vulnerable to explicit discrimination, unemployment, detachment from family structures and social institutions, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, extreme poverty, suicide, and violence.

Read the full proposal