Worthen surveyed an online representative sample of 3,104 adults in the United States to gauge their political beliefs and how strongly they embrace liberalism. About half, or 1,555 individuals, identified as LGBTQ non-heterosexual people.
The survey examined people’s self-reported ideologies, asked them whether they identified as “feminist,” and gauged their support for laws and policies that support people in poverty, racial or ethnic minorities, immigrants, and women.
According to the study’s findings, lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, and asexual people are significantly more liberal than their cisgender heterosexual counterparts.
Compared to cisgender men, cisgender women are more liberal, even within the LGBTQ community.
Within the LGBTQ community, bisexual people are less liberal than lesbians and gays.
But perhaps the most surprising finding is that transgender-identified individuals are less liberal than their fellow LGBTQ community members and even than cisgender men.
Conversely, non-binary individuals — who are often lumped in with transgender people under the “T” — are significantly more liberal than either trans men or trans women.
Worthen notes that there has been a shift among younger generations toward identifying as non-binary, particularly among those who are more liberal.
In the sample, the mean age of non-binary individuals was 33 years old, yet just over half (50.5%) of non-binary individuals were under age 35.
Worthen hopes to further examine the difference between non-binary and trans-identified individuals in a yet-to-be-published article.
In 2018, Worthen proposed a dual-layered social justice and empathic concern theoretical framework that she utilizes in her analysis.
That framework proposes that liberal perspectives among LGBTQ people are constructed from personal experiences with stigma, and their empathy for other stigmatized people.
As such, LGBTQ people writ-large may be more likely to identify with an empathize with other “underdogs” who lack power or influence when considering social justice issues.
That may translate into stronger support for policies geared towards uplifting historically marginalized groups such as racial or ethnic minorities, immigrants, and women.
Asked why transgender people do not align as strongly with liberal attitudes as other LGB individuals, Worthen suggests that trans people may have a different relationship with liberalism than cis men or women do.
She notes that if younger, more liberal people are identifying more with the “non-binary” label, that may result in making the group of people who identify exclusively as trans more conservative.
She says more research is needed to delve into the details of transgender versus non-binary people’s political attitudes.
“This is a much understudied area and we just don’t know enough about these groups to make broad sweeping claims,” Worthen says. “This study is just one piece of the story.”
That said, just because someone has a more conservative ideology doesn’t mean they necessarily wholeheartedly embrace conservative candidates when it comes to voting behavior.
For example, she says, someone who identifies as conservative may be more liberal when it comes to LGBTQ issues or other social policies.
“The point of this research is to take a look at what’s going on with these differences,” she says. “It’s surprising that this came about. But just because trans women are less liberal than these other groups doesn’t mean they’re conservatives voting for Trump.
“There is something going on here, where trans women are not feeling that their needs are best met by liberalism,” she continues. “It doesn’t mean they’re running over to Trump, it just means these examinations of their liberal identities are revealing these types of differences. … I do think that the voices of trans people need to be heard, much more so than they have been. We really just need more research about this topic generally.”
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has signed a law that bans medical professionals from providing gender-affirming health care treatments to transgender youth to help them transition.
The "Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures Act" takes effect immediately and prohibits individuals from engaging in conduct that "aids or abets" a minor in accessing gender-affirming treatments like puberty blockers, hormones, or surgical interventions. (In practice, surgery is rarely recommended for those under age 18.)
Practitioners who violate the law risk having their medical or professional licenses revoked if they perform surgeries, prescribe hormones, or even refer a minor patient to another physician who will recommend such treatments.
Maryland lawmakers have passed a bill expanding Medicaid coverage options for transgender state residents.
The Trans Health Equity Act was approved by House lawmakers by a vote of 93-37, and the Senate by a vote of 31-15, putting the measure on track to eventually be signed into law by Gov. Wes Moore (D), who is considered by advocates to be an LGBTQ ally.
Both votes were passed largely along party lines, with two Senate Democrats -- Ron Watson (D-Upper Marlboro) and Michael Jackson (D-Brandywine) -- and one House Democrat, Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-Salisbury) voting against the bill.
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed a law prohibiting transgender youth at public schools from using bathroom facilities that match their gender identity.
The new law, which takes effect 90 days following the end of this year's legislative session, makes Arkansas the fourth state -- following Alabama, Oklahoma, and Tennessee -- to impose restrictions on transgender students' bathroom use at public schools.
The law applies to multi-user restrooms and locker rooms serving students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
Schools found in violation of the law could be fined up to $1,000 per offense, and the law empowers parents to file private lawsuits if they believe their child has shared a facility with a transgender youth or the school has failed to enforce strict rules ensuring restrooms remain segregated based on biological sex, reports ABC News.
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