The emergence of transgender rights has drawn political science and public opinion scholars to empirically assess public attitudes about transgender people and their rights. Basic civil human rights is a privilege every human is entitled too. This on going debate has prompted the Trump ad-ministration to make transgender rights almost obsolete. Continuous observation has provided many insights in regards to the impact of disgust and authoritarianism (Casey, 2016; Miller et al., 2017). The rights of transgender people and transgender rights differ from the attitudes of gay peo-ple and gay rights (Lewis et al, 2017). Transgender does not equate sexual orientation.
During the unprecedented progress in transnational policy protection between 2010-2016, has been both a move towards progress and a step back from progression. This paper begins with the outlining of psychological theories of intergroup anxiety and value orientation that affect trans people. It then touches upon the prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping that transgender indi-viduals encounter. I shall then provide reduction techniques in order to reduce prejudice and dis-crimination against the mentioned disempowered group of people.
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Transgender is defined by of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity is oppo-site the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth (Mirriam-Webster, 2018). This is a personal gender identity in which a person prefers to belong to regardless of genitalia. Being transgender is not about becoming someone you want to be, but about becoming the person you have always been inside. This fact does not interpret that women who like women wish to be men, nor do men who like men wish to become women. Transgender beings have different sexual orien-tations that do not restrict them into submission to heterosexuality. Numerous amount of people will undergo surgery in order to match with their gender identity, this process involves hormone replacements or blockers if the individual decides to transition before puberty. Prejudice and discrimination against trans people is a part of a larger scale of societal punishment for non conforming to society’s standards of heteronormativity.
According to Freud’s psychosexual stages, during the phallic stage (age 3-5/7 years old) toddlers begin to find their gender identity. Children relate to same sex parent they have chosen as their mirror and show characteristics of the chosen gender group. Trans people report having body dysmorphia, a mental illness in which they feel anxiousness about their appearance and will avoid public social situations that will indite shame. Regardless of familial or social structure, becoming openly transgender may be a difficult transition especially in Trump’s era of bigotry and arrogance.
The Trump administration’s attempt to rescind the rights of transgender people is the new period of backlash against trans people globally. In the past year, Trump’s administration has scru-tinized the definition of identifying as transgender. This has henceforth attacked its legitimization by stating that gender is a biological, immutable condition determined at birth based on genitalia (Green et al. 2018). This act would initially push back the progress the Obama administration had brought in.
One of the Trump administration’s first decisive policy acts was the rescission by the Edu-cation and Justice Departments of Obama-era guidelines that protected transgender students who wanted to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity (Green et al. 2018). This can be damaging to a mental and civil degree. Many civil fights and discussions were elicited but gender abstained from categorizing individuals based on their sex, and allowed the freedom of said indi-viduals to choose which gender they preferred to be recognized as.
There has been discussion of banning discrimination based on gender in education pro-grams that receive government funding (2018). This would ultimately affect transgender people by discriminating against them based on their gender identity. The message the government is sending its patrons who have already endured difficulty in understanding who they are, displays an over-bearing weight on an entire community’s shoulders. Excluding an entire population of people from education conveys that heteronormativity is favored, those who do not confine into the social norms are casted out as misfits.
Officials at the department confirmed that their push to limit the definition of sex for the purpose of federal civil rights laws resulted from their own reading of the laws and from a court decision (Green et al, 2018) meaning their own biases subdued knowledge of basic human rights.This covert discrimination may have everlasting effects, education is a civil right and refus-ing to offer programs to groups of people based on their identity can not be tolerated. This instance of discrimination is rooted in intergroup anxiety.
Intergroup anxiety is the discomfort that arises from interacting or even imagining certain interactions with members of other groups (Rinella, 2018). These, “other groups”, are classified as outgroups or groups of people who do not belong to, “your group”. People who experience inter-group anxiety often predict negative outcomes of the interaction and will avoid actually interacting with the outgroup, this tactic can lead to prejudice, amplify normative behavior patterns, cause cog-nitive and motivational information?processing biases, and intensify self?awareness (Stephan 2014).
The reasoning behind intergroup anxiety is grounded in a fear of being seen as prejudice or experiencing embarrassment from the outgroup if they say, “the wrong thing”, in addition to
assuming dissimilarity to outgroup members (Stephan, 2014). Constant vigilance to avoid seeming prejudice may lead to overcompensating, culminating an actual prejudice presence. Those who ex-perience intergroup anxiety usually do not have any antecedent familiarity with the outgroup they have imagined their interactions with (Rinella, 2018).
The application of intergroup anxiety to the discrimination of transgender people is built on heterosexism. Heterosexism is an ideological system that denies, denigrates, and stigmatizes any non heterosexual behavior or identity or relationship (Rinella, 2018). Heterosexist ideas and heter-onormative standards are the baseline of biases and discrimination considering dogmatic view-points.
Applying this knowledge and understanding its presence can guide us into further appre-hension in aid to combat against intergroup anxiety. This occurrence of discriminating against per-sonages in regards to their gender relates to intergroup anxiety because those who are privileged enough have no experience in trying to connect with what they do not know or to what they have not been exposed to. So, when the time comes for the unavoidable introduction to these types of people, they feel uncomfortable. Most of these privileged groups are reluctant to receive anything outside of their normativity, hence, intergroup anxiety arises. Are they male? Are they female? Do they still have the genitalia that would categorize them as so? Anxiousness emanate when questions are perceived too insulting to ask.
The most affective way in changing individuals attitudes about marginalized groups is the theory of interpersonal contact. Studies have shown that knowing about the rights of sexual/gender minorities attributes to the attitudes of knowing someone who is within the LGTBQI+ community. This combats intergroup anxiety by allowing outgroup members to particularize them selves with groups, such as transgender people, and resolve feelings of anxiousness. Another way is by bringing to light the issue of intergroup anxiety that marginalize groups have with contacting groups outside their own. Within the LGBTQI+ community, the social disconnect from society has prompted fear to reach out for help from non community members because of discriminatory back-lash. Meaning, value orientation comes into play because groups that do not identify as LGBTQI+ do not see their perspective and presume an old-fashioned value perspective on gender.
Value orientation is the belief that one’s group and an outgroup have distinguishable differ-ences in values. These values are beliefs holding importance of goals aspired to achieve in life used to make evaluative judgments (Rinella, 2018). Values that hold importance are those such as re-sponsibility, trust, justice, and fairness. Recently conservatives have reported that minority groups have been favorited by government policies, claiming it is just not fair to normal American families who have already worked so hard for everything they have. Two categories of value orientation thought to be related to prejudice are individualism and egalitarianism (Rinella, 2018).
Individual value orientation is recognized by self-reliance and independence and the idea that, “most people who don’t succeed in life are just plain lazy”, associated with high prejudice caused by believing in stereotypes of outgroups (Rinella, 2018). Individualism can also be de-scribed as a practiced self serving bias which maintains self esteem and can deny blame of failure in ingroups. Egalitarian value orientation is recognized by equality and fairness, associated with very low prejudice and awareness of stereotypes, but commonly doubting them. Perceived value differences are a result of believing deviant characteristics in a certain group. Application of the theory of value orientation to this issue is obtained when members of dominant groups do not see themselves as the same as other members, specifically outgroups. Dominant group members wish to view themselves as a morally superior group, so when deviant behaviors are challenged or exhibited— other members who have common goals such as them are riddled with anxiety. Dominant groups’ anxiety is caused by themselves seeing other groups as the same level as they are.When people in power have dominance and their supposed superiority is challenged, they will configure sorts of approaches to stay in power. Consequently inducing stereo-types and prejudice.
The awakening of one’s fear of being morally similar to a group thought to be entirely dif-ferent from their own may induce self reflection along with terror management. Terror management is prejudice resulting from people’s desire to uphold and defend value systems, commonly chal-lenging culture and worldview (Rinella, 2018). The dehumanization of transgender individuals is displaced by dominant group member’s confusion of gender and comprehensiveness of the world. Value orientation’s relevancy in these issues is an underlying truth centered in ignorance for being unable to be accepting of others.
I present the following to reiterate testing the proposed mechanism between transgender people and increasing support for transgender rights: prejudice reduction. Prejudice reduction, is when negative attitudes and phobias towards marginalized groups are lowered (Allport, 1979). Prejudice reduction serves as a support for transgender rights by reducing the problem through ed-ucation. Education is the most important aspect. Psychological disengagement or behavioral com-pensation may be used as well for being able to cope with prejudice. Knowledge of these tactical forms of coping can bring awareness in others who have suffered prejudice.
Psychological disengagement is to mentally disconnect with the domains of presented stim-uli. It potentially protects the self-esteem and devaluates the self-concept (Rinella, 2018). Behavior-al compensation is the statistical approach to avoid discrimination and prejudice against those by providing excuses for people and why they are, the way they are. In retrospect, behavioral com-pensation may seem as if the person using this tactic is making excuses for outgroup members in order to make sense of why members are a certain way, instead of accepting that this is a natural element that occurs in humans.
Intergroup anxiety and value orientation impacts the perception of transgender individuals before actually socializing with them. Creating unrealistic scenarios of these groups stigmatizes and devalues their progress towards progression as human beings. Perceived higher morality increases higher chances of prejudice towards disempowered groups such as in the transgender community. Health implications are more likely to occur in trans individuals, such as depression and thoughts of suicide (Oliver, 2015). This is particularly harmful for future generations who will learn and ob-serve from their peers to have negative perceptions of transgender people based on what they see. Educating the public on transgenders, their rights, and how we do not all differ from one another can help shape a positive and empathic world specifically on a matter that many seem to be com-pletely polarized about. How we treat each other will impact the way we uphold either as a collec-tive or divided front against structural heterosexism.
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