The concept of gender-neutral bathrooms and the campaign against them is not a new concept in America. Dating back to at least 1978, people have been protesting for genderless bathrooms with resistance from those who believed that transgender individuals were a threat, a danger to society, and would increase sexual assault towards women (Scout, 2016). Transgender individuals are individuals whose gender identity can be a defined in a range of gender that can be male, female, in between, or somewhere on a spectrum and it does not match their sex that was assigned at birth (Seelman, 2014).
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This includes individuals who may be male-to-female, female-to-male, genderqueer, and other identities and is frequently used as an umbrella term for non-binary persons. This definition also includes those who have undergone surgery, are taking hormones, both, or neither (Seelman, 2014).
Gender-segregated areas such as housing and bathrooms become essential for anyone, including those who identify as transgender, to participate in society. Without access to housing, bathrooms, and other gender-segregated environments people are unable to fully exist in society, hence the problem many transgender individuals and transgender students are facing in America today.
Discrimination towards trans-individuals is rampant including blatant discrimination (e.g., denying services) or more subtle microaggressions (e.g., misgendering); (Seelman, Woodford, & Nicolazzo, 2016). Transgender individuals are being denied housing, access to bathrooms, and other rights that cisgender individuals (individuals whose gender matches their sex that was assigned at birth) have access to. Transgender students on college campuses are also experiencing prejudice and discrimination, despite the growing awareness and demand for transgender services and equality (CITATION). Reasons for transprejudice (attitudes towards transgender individuals that can be considered prejudice); (White & Jenkins, 2017) can be explained through understanding societal expectations and norms, the power of the majority group , and physical appearance.
The current research examined whether participants manipulated view of acceptance for gender-neutral bathrooms on a college campus would have an effect on the participants’ level of acceptance for transgender individuals in varying gender-segregated or integrated environments.
Research has demonstrated that similar to many other marginalized identities within the LGBT community, transgender individuals experience discrimination and prejudice (Buck & Obzud, 2018). However, unlike LGB identities, transgender individuals experience more negative experiences and face different barriers as transgender individuals have not received the same acceptance that other LGB individuals have (E.g., Buck & Obzud, 2018; Scout, 2016).
Transgender individuals experience discrimination in various ways. In some states as of 2016, it is legal to kick transgender individuals out of hotels or refuse housing to these individuals because many states lack laws that not only protect sex and sexual orientation, but also gender identity (Scout, 2016). Buck and Obzud (2018) conducted a study that demonstrated that transgender individuals experience more discrimination in gender-segregated environments such as locker rooms,
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