Changing minds on trans matters: Protests? Social media? Ads? Answer: Face-to-face conversations

one on one transLEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — That’s right, a simple face-to-face conversation with a stranger will have a far more lasting positive impact, even if the stranger is exposed to fear mongering by opponents. In addition, the person conducting the conversation need not to be or identify themselves as transgender — it makes no difference. All this, is according to a recent study published in Science.

Rather than mere storytelling, a 10-minute conversation of putting the person in the shoes of a trans person, as a therapist would do, and draw from their life experiences and connecting them with the oppression trans people face, does the trick. This technique shifts their thinking on trans matters, and later, these people would be able to make connection between the conversation and trans issues surfacing in their communities.

The researchers say these kind of personal interaction has an impact that lasts, even if later exposed to fear mongering and other tactics. The research also shows that the better one is at having the conversation, the greater the impact.

The study was conducted by David Broockman of Stanford University and Joshua Kalla at UC Berkeley. The findings are likely to significantly change the way trans and LGBT organizations conduct their outreach and advocacy campaigns.

A simple conversation is all it takes. Some times we can just leave the signs, bullhorns, anger, and so on, at home. This probably how the South Dakota bathroom bill got vetoed.


A summary by Zack Ford:

Durably reducing transphobia: A field experiment on door-to-door canvassing:


Existing research depicts intergroup prejudices as deeply ingrained, requiring intense intervention to lastingly reduce. Here, we show that a single approximately 10-minute conversation encouraging actively taking the perspective of others can markedly reduce prejudice for at least 3 months. We illustrate this potential with a door-to-door canvassing intervention in South Florida targeting antitransgender prejudice. Despite declines in homophobia, transphobia remains pervasive. For the intervention, 56 canvassers went door to door encouraging active perspective-taking with 501 voters at voters’ doorsteps. A randomized trial found that these conversations substantially reduced transphobia, with decreases greater than Americans’ average decrease in homophobia from 1998 to 2012. These effects persisted for 3 months, and both transgender and nontransgender canvassers were effective. The intervention also increased support for a nondiscrimination law, even after exposing voters to counterarguments.

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Categories: Discrimination, Equality, Civil Rights, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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6 replies

  1. You are so right

  2. Not very often, but just often enough to save the situation, good ideas like this suddenly emerge This is a brilliant flash of light in a very dark tunnel we are walking through.

    People – community people and allies – go out and talk to people outside our community.

  3. wow thanks Lexie i talk every day at Guitar Center and at and schools and church’s and lots of people ask me question, everyone in Sarasota knows me , i get my share of hate mail and people making stupid comments , and i say to them bring it on!!!! we are here and get used to us there more and more of us coming out . thanks Lexie for giving me the strength ti educate them love u much


  4. This has inspired me to set up a table, with comfy chairs at our local farmers market. I am very comfortable speaking to groups and individuals. I want folks to see that the trans community is comprised of family, neighbors, parents, veterans, teachers, police officers, and so much more

  5. Thanks for the comments everyone!

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