Transgender and Attitudes

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Perceptions and Attitudes of
Far Eastern University Students
towards Transgender People

A Research Paper
Presented to
Mr. Ariel Valeza
Department of Literature
Far Eastern University

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for
Term 1, school year 2012-2013

John Jeffrey Calma
Karmina De Asis
Sharitojah Patalinghug
Christine Ramirez

Because of the dominant societal standard of gender as a binary construct, the emerging visibility of the transgender population (including transsexuals and cross-dressers) remains a politically and emotionally charged social issue. Unchecked negative attitudes toward transgender persons may result in transphobia as well as discriminatory treatment of transgender individuals. Few studies have examined the predictors of attitudes toward transgender persons. The purpose of the present study was to better understand attitudes toward transgender individuals through an identification of some of the variables that predict these attitudes, namely religiosity, gender role beliefs, homophobia, contact experiences, and causal attribution. Measures of religiosity, attitudes toward transgender individuals, attitudes toward women, attitudes toward gays and lesbians, contact experience, causal attribution, and social desirability were administered to 45 undergraduate students at Far Eastern University. A qualitative survey analysis revealed that high levels of religiosity, traditional beliefs about the roles of women, homophobic attitudes toward lesbians and gay men, and a lack of exposure to transgender individuals appeared to predict negative attitudes toward transgender people. Furthermore, contact with transgender people and attribution of the cause of transgender identities to biological rather than social factors were both related to more positive attitudes.

Perceptions and Attitudes of
Far Eastern University Students
towards Transgender People

An increasingly visible community of self-identified transgender individuals has helped to heighten the awareness of the societal marginalization and hostility that this population faces. The transgender population is comprised of a multitude of identities and forms of self-expression that transgress the established gender categories of “male” and “female.” The term “transgender” includes transsexual (individuals who identify with a gender different from that which is biologically assigned). Transsexual individuals may or may not opt to pursue surgical or hormonal interventions to change their physical appearance. Also included in the “transgender” category are cross dressers (individuals who prefer to dress in clothing traditionally worn by the opposite gender; this term is preferred to “transvestites”). Additionally, drag kings and drag queens, and individuals who identify as “genderqueer” fall within the category of “transgender” (Beemyn, 2003). Although these specific conceptualizations of gender variance and their corresponding nomenclature are modern, the challenge of gender norms has existed across many different cultures and time periods. However, current political activism and awareness have resulted in an emergent consciousness surrounding transgender issues. Consequently, an increasing visibility of individuals who transgress traditional notions of gender now exists. This growing awareness of transgender issues is evident in a number of aspects of Philippine culture, most visibly so in popular culture, the media and the political realm. Examples of mainstream attention to transgender concerns include television programs such as Gandang Gabi Vice and The Bottomline that have portrayed transgender, transsexual and cross-dressing characters and subjects, oftentimes in sensitive and realistic ways. Political parties that represent LGBTQ rights such as Ang Ladad are increasing visibility in the media. Furthermore, mainstream media sources have covered transgender issues in an increasingly positive...
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