As a result of persisting stigma, transgender people experience vastly higher rates of harassment, violence, and mental health issues compared to cisgender people. The current study experimentally evaluated a computer-mediated intergroup contact strategy, called E-contact, to reduce transgender stigma. E-contact is a synchronous, cooperative, goal-directed online interaction which is informed by Allport’s intergroup contact theory. In total, 114 cisgender, heterosexual, Australian undergraduates and community members (83 women, 31 men) were randomly allocated to E-contact with an online confederate who either disclosed that they were a transgender woman or a cisgender woman. Following the online interaction, participants then completed measures assessing prior transgender contact and transgender stigma. The findings revealed that transgender E-contact reduced stigma for cisgender men whereas it had no impact on women’s already lower levels of stigma. These novel findings have important implications for researchers, policymakers and counsellors interested in developing transgender stigma reduction interventions by (a) highlighting the importance of transgender contact for those individuals with low or poor prior contact and (b) targeting prejudice-prone populations, such as men, who stand to gain the most from such cooperative, goal-directed interventions.
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We acknowledge the Cadigal and the Wangal peoples of the Eora nation, upon whose ancestral, unceded lands this research was conducted. We pay our utmost respect to Elders past and present. We particularly acknowledge Brotherboys and Sistergirls, as well as all First Nations Australians, in their ongoing struggles for sovereignty and justice.
We thank members of the SUPIR Lab, Vitor from the School of Psychology’s IT team for technical assistance with the E-Contact tool, those who helped by providing feedback and participating in the study, Riki for their copyedit, and the Editor and Reviewers for their very helpful feedback. We thank our loved ones and those who have supported us. This work is for all trans people: past, present, and future.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Research Involving Human Participants
The present research involved human participants. Ethical approval to conduct the research was approved by the authors’ institution’s Human Research Ethics Committee (Project number 2018/315). The research was conducted according to these standards.
All participants read a Participant Information Statement allowing them to make an informed choice as to whether they wanted to participate in the research or not. They were informed that they could also cease participation at any stage with no penalty to them. The ethics of the consent procedure was approved as above.
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Boccanfuso, E., White, F.A. & Maunder, R.D. Reducing Transgender Stigma via an E-contact Intervention. Sex Roles (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-020-01171-9
- Intergroup contact
- Sex roles