Anti-Transgender Bias Reduced After One Conversation [STUDY]

Anti-Transgender Bias Reduced After One Conversation [STUDY]

In 2015 a highly publicized study found that conservative people could be talked into changing their opinion after just one conversation.

The only problem was that the study lead author falsified the results. However a new study published in the journal Science has now found even better results from the same kind of work, this time reducing discrimination against members of the transgender community.

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Study found long-lasting changes to beliefs

According to the research a 10-minute in-depth conversation from a trained canvasser led to a “substantial” reduction in an individual voter’s anti-transgender bias. It also made them more likely to support anti-discrimination laws.

Scientists found that the change lasted for an amazing three months.

“Most attempts by campaigns to influence voters don’t have an impact at all, and the ones that do, the benefit decays in three to five days,” said David Fleischer, director of the Leadership LAB at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, who came up with the canvassing technique.

Campaigners working hard against anti-transgender laws

The findings offer encouragement to LGBT activists facing a wave of state laws in Southern states which would effectively legalize anti-LGBT discrimination. North Carolina recently ruled that transgender people have to use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate, and other states are considering similar laws.

Fleischer is also personally vindicated by the findings. Since 2008, when California banned same-sex marriage, he has been canvassing in conservative neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

He enlisted the help of a researcher to test the effectiveness of his method, but it turned out that the researcher had falsified the results. Fleischer was certain that he was right, so he hired the research team that had proved that the previous results were falsified.

He put them to work in Miami, studying a project that was trying to garner support for an anti-discrimination measure. Under the new study researchers followed 56 trained canvassers, some of whom were transgender and others not, that spoke to 501 voters.

The conversations, part of a drive to personalize the issue, were more in-depth than political canvassing work. They lasted around 10 minutes each and involved asking voters if they too were sometimes discriminated against for being different.

Study author urges caution

After a few weeks or months the canvassers returned and found that voters’ bias remained significantly lower. The decrease in the level of bias was found to be “significantly greater than Americans’ average decrease in homophobia from 1998 to 2012.”

According to Fleischer these latest results are even more impressive than those of the discredited study. The previous work showed that a long-term change in views only occurred when the canvasser themselves was gay. However the new work proves that voters’ opinions changed whether or not the canvasser was transgender.

However David Broockman, assistant professor of political economy at Stanford University and study lead researcher, says that the results should not be interpreted as an easy way to fix discrimination against transgender people. The canvassers used specific techniques that were the result of training from the LGBT Center and SAVE, a Florida-based gay rights group.

“The message is not that there’s a silver bullet,” he said. “This is [a canvassing technique] that took the Leadership LAB a long time to develop, and I don’t think anyone should be under the illusion that they can just go out this afternoon and employ this technique.”

However he did strike an optimistic note in saying that the techniques could potentially be used to change other beliefs, such as those on race or climate change.

Updated on

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. <i>To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at</i>
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  1. It’s not Bias. It’s values. I will not have values dictated to me by anyone. If my value system says something is wrong, then it’s wrong – period!
    I would love a convasser to knock on my door. They would be welcome but might leave thinking differently.

  2. Someone is transgender today and tomorrow they can be a real life unicorn. We are what we are not what we want to be.

  3. If I put on black face can I insist people consider me a real black person and demand equal access to affirmative action programs?

    What if I act like a racist stereotype the entire time, still ok? The average drag queen looks like they’re trying to be Jessica Rabbit. Is that really how they view women? #ExtremelySexist

  4. I think the practice of “treating” the condition with hormones and surgery is about as barbaric as lobotomy or electric shock.

  5. That’s not as crazy as it sounds. There is a condition called species dysphoria. Why should those with species dysphoria be treated any different than those with gender dysphoria ?

  6. We were told that the world would be “frying” by now but it isn’t. We can see that with our own eyes just as we can see that a man in skirt is still a man with our own eyes, the efforts of government experts who claim otherwise notwithstanding.

  7. In addition to gender dysphoria there are other dysphorias as well such as racial dysphoria and species dysphoria. I’d like to see a study on how easy it is to convince people that they should scoop the poop of other individuals who consider themselves to be dogs. Refusal to do so is discrimination in exactly the same sense that it is discrimination to refuse to let your teenage daughter share a locker room with men.

  8. The canvassers’ success rate was “about one out of ten people”.

    A one-on-one in-person conversation is the most powerful way to convince someone, especially since the canvassers were trained to “to generate sympathy”, as the source says.

    And they didn’t have to actually sell anything – so there was no reluctance to spend money.

    All that considered, and compared to the average 20% “close rate” for door-to-door sales, the 10% success rate appears surprisingly low.

  9. shouldn’t climate change views be changed by scientific data?,,, nice article then you ruined it with that last line

  10. Where does phobia’s play into the truth of a freedom to think. I can have a phobia of germs which can cause me stress but if I don’t have a phobia of germs it doesn’t mean I have to receive a therapy to make me stop washing my produce.

  11. I’m transitioning into a dog, from now on I require the right to go to the bathroom on your lawn and you must pretend I am a canine. Woof!

  12. Transgenderism is a mental illness that exposes those who suffer from it to a massively higher risk of suicide. We should work hard to prevent future generations of kids from suffering from this illness.

  13. Didn’t Mao try this with ‘re-education camps’? What happened to our freedom to believe whatever we want without being accused of ‘thought crime’?

    Just because you can afford to pay a surgeon to staple a horn to your forehead does not mean you are now a unicorn, nor does it make me a bigot for refusing to play along with that delusion.

    It’s a free country, people can do whatever silly **** they want with their body, but that’s a two way street. I am free to think what I want and I will defend that freedom to my dying breath. That is what being a real liberal is all about. I reject these modern crybabies and their vapid attempts at mind-control with ‘trained canvasers’

  14. OK, I give up — what do “conservative” political values have to do with an accused bias toward or against gender preference. I get it that the Democrats want to divide us by every silly notion they can so they can say they can “cure” us if only we trust them. Again. No Really.

    And doesn’t the topic of this article, brainwashing someone into thinking the “correct” way strike anyone as the same as “curing” gay people with therapy?

    Hey Brendan — we’re a country of mongrels — who cares about any of your “preferences”, physical attributes, parents, pets. We’re all Americans in this together. As long as you aren’t chopping heads off my close friends or blowing up buildings I meant to visit today — all cool.

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