Most people aren’t willing to date transgender people, according to Psychology Today.
The layperson’s psychology mag recently featured Karen L. Blair Ph.D. reporting on her study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
Of 1000 participants, 87.5% said they weren’t willing to date transgenders. The study questioned each person on their willingness to date a cis man, a cis woman, a trans woman, a trans man, and a person with non-binary gender identification. The majority only checked the cis member of the opposite sex and no one else.
Most of those willing to date trans people were bisexual, trans, or non-binary themselves, and only around three percent of straight dudes said they were willing to date transgender women.
Blair admits the weakness of the study is that they didn’t ask for possible reasons, where participants could give insight into why they didn’t date trans women.
“The published study did not ask participants for the reasons behind their responses, so future research is needed in order to understand more about what leads to inclusion or exclusion,” she writes.
She attributes respondent unwillingness to societal prejudice or ignorance due to lack of education. One participant added that he thinks trans folks are “non-human.” Others noted that trans people aren’t “real men” or “real women.” Blair admits another reason is possible—many people who date do so with future hopes of creating a family. Women who are post-menopausal also get the short shrift in dating.
The study could have shown some context by asking about willingness to date other kinds of people, to contrast the responses. For example, we know from other studies that around the same number of people, about 85% of folks, claim they are unwilling to date fat people. How many are willing to date a different race, ethnicity, religion, or culture?
If bisexual and gender-queer folks are more willing to date trans people than straight or gay people, is it simply because most people are most willing to date people in their own identification groups? Even in very diverse societies, most people still date people somewhat like themselves.
Although people won’t always tell the truth about their reasons, having any insight at all into why they responded how they did would be helpful. How many people are bigots, and how many people wouldn’t date a trans person because they have simply never met one? How many women won’t date trans men because they want babies? It would also be interesting to know how many people were willing to date trans folks twenty years ago compared to today.
The bad news is that relationships and dating are incredibly important to people’s physical and mental health, and finding love and sex is another difficult area of life for transgender women to navigate, placing yet another burden on top of family rejection, religious discrimination, poverty, employment barriers, domestic and social violence, and addiction.
The good news is, you and I are willing to date transgender people and lots of other people who have trans friends, dates, and family members see the beauty and humanity of their loved ones. We can be vocal of our support for trans people and show our trans dates the affection, respect, and love they deserve.