Heterosexuals' Attitudes Toward Transgender People: Findings from a National Probability Sample of U.S. Adults

Aaron T. Norton, Gregory M. Herek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

408 Scopus citations


Using data from a national probability sample of heterosexual U.S. adults (N = 2,281), the present study describes the distribution and correlates of men's and women's attitudes toward transgender people. Feeling thermometer ratings of transgender people were strongly correlated with attitudes toward gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, but were significantly less favorable. Attitudes toward transgender people were more negative among heterosexual men than women. Negative attitudes were associated with endorsement of a binary conception of gender; higher levels of psychological authoritarianism, political conservatism, and anti-egalitarianism, and (for women) religiosity; and lack of personal contact with sexual minorities. In regression analysis, sexual prejudice accounted for much of the variance in transgender attitudes, but respondent gender, educational level, authoritarianism, anti-egalitarianism, and (for women) religiosity remained significant predictors with sexual prejudice statistically controlled. Implications and directions for future research on attitudes toward transgender people are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-753
Number of pages16
JournalSex Roles
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Attitudes
  • Public opinion
  • Sexual prejudice
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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