Anti-Transgender Voting Behavior: A Justification/Suppression Model Approach

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Falck, Wednesday
Washburn University
Psychology Department
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Anti-transgender legislation grows prevalent across numerous regions of the United States. Thus, investigating predictors of anti-transgender sentiment as well as the impact of pro- and antitransgender rhetoric on voting behavior offers a timely research opportunity. Previous research has suggested that the expression of prejudice might be conditional on justification factors that excuse prejudice or suppression factors which make it feel socially undesirable. In this experiment, 186 participants were exposed to either pro- or anti-transgender priming vignettes or a neutral control condition before being asked to vote on a hypothetical anti-transgender “bathroom bill” to determine whether the justification/suppression theory could be used to influence voting behavior. Participants also self-reported on several personal belief scales, including religious fundamentalism, social dominance orientation, transphobia, and critical consciousness to confirm the results of previous research which suggests that critical consciousness might moderate the predictive relationship between transphobia and antitransgender voting behavior. Results did not indicate an effect of the experimental conditions on voting behavior. Surprisingly, critical consciousness correlated with transphobia, such that higher levels of voiced support for transgender rights corresponded with stronger endorsement of transphobic beliefs. This research suggests that the relationship between voiced and actionable support for transgender people may be complex, and that voting behavior on the subject of transgender rights may not be easily swayed with simple exposure to shallow rhetoric in either direction of support.