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Thursday, June 29, 2006

News: National majority supports transgender employee protections

A national poll has found that 59 percent of "likely voters" who were surveyed support laws prohibiting employment discrimination against transgender employees.

The poll delved beyond this question, finding that the majority continued to support transgender protection after a discussion of arguments for and against the bill. Pollsters had participants listen to likely arguments for the bill, such as "fairness is a basic American value," "transgender people deserve protections in every community," and "it will make transgender people more comfortable in the workplace". They also presented likely arguments against the bill, including concerns about special rights, bathroom usage and dress codes. Interestingly, the support remained at the same level.

In even more surprising results, they convened focus groups to discuss, among other things, mock-up print ads on both sides of the issue, including such negative issues as a bearded man in a dress teaching kindergarten. While the scare tactics were persuasive to some of the participants, one surprising cohort -- straight men -- rejected them. The most extreme negative ads were largely ineffective for heterosexual men. "They said, 'Oh, a man in a dress in a beard is not going to show up in the kindergarten class. They're just trying to scare me.'"

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