Date of Submission

Fall 2022

Academic Program

Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing; Psychology

Project Advisor 1

Thomas Hutcheon

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Knowing when to come out is an important decision in the lives of transgender people, especially as doing so can put them at great risk of hate crimes or aggressions. Coming out, however, can also bring a feeling of freedom and foster a community more openly. A friend or child coming out is different than a stranger coming out to you, and this may change how you feel towards this person’s queerness. A person you do not know is already in an out-group so you may be more likely to jump to negative conclusions about them. This is compounded if you are cisgender and they are transgender (or vice versa) and it is a further, perhaps more notable, out-group. This study explores when it is safe to come out by presenting participants with a vignette in which someone either comes out early in the vignette, late, or not at all to simulate someone coming out before or after you get to know them. Warmth and trust are then measured between transgender and cisgender participants. Results showed positive reception towards the character in the vignette who came out, and that transgender participants rated all characters higher than cisgender participants. It was also found that transgender participants, and cisgender participants with transgender friends, had higher explicit support of transgender people as a whole. This provides hopeful evidence that, while the world remains dangerous for transgender individuals, coming out is getting safer, and understanding its role is an important starting point for research.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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