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Labor market support for transgender people is lower than support for LGB people

There is higher stated support for LGB people in the workplace and for LGB employment nondiscrimination rights compared to support for transgender people.

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There is significantly higher stated support for LGB people in the workplace and for LGB employment nondiscrimination rights compared to support for transgender people in the same domains.

This is according to a study – “Understanding Labor Market Discrimination Against Transgender People: Evidence from a Double List Experiment and a Survey” by Billur Aksoy, Christopher S. Carpenter, and Dario Sansone – that appeared in Management Science.

And so they used a double list experiment and a survey designed to provide timely information on views toward transgender people in the workplace and support for transgender employment nondiscrimination rights.

The researchers found that:

  • Women hold more positive views than men regarding transgender individuals, although the coefficient estimates are not statistically significant for the employment nondiscrimination protection statement.
  • Support for transgender individuals in the workplace is higher among individuals without managerial experience.
  • Those with less than a bachelor’s degree have significantly less positive views regarding transgender managers.
  • Non-heterosexual individuals hold significantly more positive views than heterosexual individuals regarding transgender people in the workplace.
  • Heterosexual individuals are significantly more likely to underreport the stigmatized view when asked about their comfort with having a transgender manager relative to non-heterosexual individuals, and this difference is substantial—more than 11 percentage points—and statistically significant at the 5% level.
  • Democrats’ views regarding transgender individuals in the workplace are more positive than Independents’ views, which are themselves more positive than Republicans’ views.
  • Support for transgender managers in the workplace is significantly lower than stated support for lesbian, gay, and bisexual managers. Participants are 9.6% less likely to report being comfortable having a transgender manager relative to an openly lesbian, gay, or bisexual manager.
  • Participants are less likely to support laws when those laws are designed to protect transgender individuals, as opposed to lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals.

“People severely underestimate the level of comfort with having a transgender manager at work and the level of support for employment nondiscrimination protection for transgender people,” stated the researchers, adding that “respondents reported more comfort with a lesbian, gay, or bisexual manager and more support for employment nondiscrimination rights for lesbian, gay, or bisexual individuals than the associated rates of reported comfort with a transgender manager and support for transgender employment nondiscrimination rights, respectively.”

They, therefore, recommended “informing individuals about the actual level of support for transgender individuals in the workplace could potentially shift individuals’ views.” For them, “if these mismatches between beliefs and actual views are not corrected, such misperceptions could lend legitimacy to antitransgender policies that most people may not support.”

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