Transgender politics as body politics: effects of disgust sensitivity and authoritarianism on transgender rights attitudes Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Miller, Patrick R; Flores, Andrew R; Haider-Markel, Donald P; Lewis, Daniel C; Tadlock, Barry L; Taylor, Jami K


  • Transgender identity inherently involves body politics, specifically how transgender people may physically represent gender in ways that do not match their assigned sex at birth and how some may alter their bodies. Yet, political behavior research on transgender rights attitudes leaves unaddressed the role of transgender bodies in shaping those attitudes. Using an original, representative national survey of American adults, we analyze how authoritarianism and disgust sensitivity affect transgender rights attitudes. These two predispositions often reflect social norms and morality about bodies, especially those of stigmatized minority groups. First, we show that attitudes about transgender rights are multidimensional, forming civil rights and body-centric dimensions. Second, we demonstrate that disgust sensitivity and authoritarianism both positively predict opposition to transgender rights, and that they moderate each other’s effects such that the greatest opposition is among those jointly scoring higher on both predictors. Finally, we show that disgust sensitivity and authoritarianism predict greater than average opposition to bodycentric transgender rights policies.


publication date

  • 2017

published in

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