Few things are as controversial or as widely debated these days as much as the LGBT community. Even though they finally won the right to get married last year, the community is still under threat of being severely discriminated against. A number of states have been coming up with laws that would allow people to persecute the LGBT community, particularly trans individuals, in more ways than one.
But even though some gave up their newly completed, persecution-inspiring legislations, other states are still attempting to pass laws that would, for example, allow anyone to deny the LGBT community even the most basic of services (including medical attention). So in their attempt to raise awareness on the subject, a new study published Thursday in the journal Science shows that a ten minute conversation can reduce trans prejudice.
Back in 2015, David Fleischer, the director of the Leadership LAB at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, attempted to perform a study through which to demonstrate that a ten minute conversation with individuals would reduce their level of persecution against the LGBT community. The results were surprisingly successful, but that’s when everything started to go wrong.
It turns out that Michael LaCour, the young researcher employed to handle the study, had falsified the results. As expected, this led to some huge backlash, with persecution groups claiming that they were being manipulated into accepting the LGBT community. But convinced that he was on the right track, Fleischer gave it another try.
So this year, improving on the canvassing method and hiring the same team that proved that the previous study had been falsified, Fleischer sent a team of 56 trained canvassers out to carry personal ten minute conversations with 501 voters. Some of the canvassers were trans, while others weren’t, but that didn’t prove to be of any importance.
Carrying deep, personal, specifically designed conversations, the canvassers talked to the voters for around ten minutes, also showing them clips of both pro and anti-transgender manifestations, asking them about times when they felt like they were judged, and employing other similar techniques.
As it turns out, the second attempt was even more successful than the falsified results. Regardless of whether the canvasser was trans or not, the meaningful conversations led in almost all the cases to the voter changing their opinions and maintaining them for at least three months.
The fact that a simple, albeit directed, conversation managed to change some ingrained opinions and help the people maintain them for such a long time is very impressive, particularly since it was thought that the opinions couldn’t be changes for more than a few days.
Still, the battle is nowhere nearly over, as the country seems to be full of prejudicing people whose only goals are to make sure that the LGBT community is kept away from even the most basic services (see the recent Georgia bill that just fell though).
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