Drawing on the first national survey experiment of its kind (n = 3,922), we examine the factors that underlie Americans’ perceptions of transgender people’s gender. In the experiment, we manipulate whether a transgender person identifies as a man or woman (gender identity), an adult or teenager (age), and whether others perceive them to be gender conforming. We ask participants whether they view the vignette character as male or female, and to explain their reasoning. Findings indicate that gender conformity, but not gender identity or age, affect perceptions of gender. By assessing the underlying factors that drive public perceptions of transgender people, we can better understand the issues that shape discourse surrounding transgender rights, as well as public attitudes about sex and gender.
Presented in Session 97. Research on Transgender and Gender Nonbinary/Nonconforming Populations