Perceptions of Attraction: Implicit Biases in Attraction Towards Transgender Individuals

  • Pallavi Nair Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Mary Langhorst Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Caitlin Van Kesteren Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Dennis Wang Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Emma Silversides Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Keywords: transgender, attraction, bias, discrimination, LGBTQ


Research regarding biases against the transgender community is growing in the field of psychology, with one of the focal points being attraction. This study was conducted to determine if individuals are perceived as less attractive when identified as transgender, rather than cisgender. A between-subjects experimental design was used in which a sample of university students who identified as cisgender women rated the attractiveness of the same 10 photos (5 of men and 5 of women), labelled as either “cisgender” (n = 21) or as “transgender” (n = 19). Our hypothesis was that photos labelled as transgender would receive lower ratings than the photos labelled as cisgender for both the men’s and women’s faces. The independent samples t-test indicated no statistically significant differences between the cisgender and transgender photos. This suggests that awareness of an individual’s transgender status does not negatively influence perceptions of attractiveness, and that younger university students may be less prejudiced towards the transgender community.

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