Study: Transgender Americans Don’t All Identify as ‘Liberal’

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According to a new study published this summer, transgender Americans are far less liberal in their politics than most would assume. The study, which clashes with other research, notes that 48 percent of transgender respondents identified as independents. One possible reason for this according to researchers is that transgender people may be further to the left than the term “liberal” allows for.

The College Fix highlighted a new study this week brings into question the preconceived notions on the politics of transgender Americans. According to the study, transgender Americans may be less liberal that straight males.

The study acknowledges that these results are surprising, noting that other studies suggest that as much as 82 percent of transgender Americans identify with liberalism. The study points out that the discrepancy may be the result of the reality that many trans Americans are further to the left than the “liberalism” label allows for, thus creating a scenario in which there is a lower ratio, within their respective subgroups, of “liberal” trans Americans than there is of straight white Americans.

These are surprising findings because large-scale US nationwide studies have found that most (82%) transgender people identify with liberalism (James et al., 2016) and a majority (64%) voted for the Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. However, because no studies to date have offered comparisons of cis men and women, trans men and women, and nonbinary individuals in regard to their liberalism, patterns regarding liberal perspectives among these groups remained unestablished in previous work. Using US nationally representative data, the current study illustrates that transgender individuals may believe that their experiences differ from cisgender people in important ways that shape their perspectives about liberalism. In particular, trans men and women may feel that their interests are not well represented by liberal perspectives and policies and as a result, they may not identify with liberal politics.

The study notes that nearly half (48 percent) of trans-Americans identify as politically independent.

The study’s author, University of Oklahoma Professor Meredith Worthen, argues that the Trump presidency has changed the way that many LGBT Americans approach politics.

“The Trump presidency created a very real need to understand voices of oppressed and marginalized groups, including LGBTQ people,” Worthen said in a comment to The College Fix. “Alongside this, because media terms like ‘Rainbow Wave’ were so rampant during the last election, I felt it was important to investigate the accuracy of this term.”

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