A short conversation may be all it takes to change some people’s minds about equal rights for transgender people, according to a new study.
The study, published Thursday in Science, backs up the findings of much-discussed earlier research, which was retracted shortly after it was published because it had been fabricated.
In the new study, researchers sent canvassers in Miami door-to-door to have 10-minute conversations with about 500 voters. During the discussions, the canvassers asked the voters about a 2014 Miami law that prohibits housing, employment and public discrimination based on gender identity. They followed up with general questions about equal rights and discrimination, outside the context of gender identity.
By the end of the conversation, about 1 in 10 of the voters who originally opposed equal rights for transgender people had changed their mind, the study found. This change of opinion lasted at least three months, and was not affected by the gender identity of the canvasser.
The research, conducted by Stanford University professor David Broockman and University of California, Berkley professor Joshua Kalla, follows up on a previously retracted study. The original study, which was widely covered when it was published about a year ago, had purported to examine the effects of conversation on opinions about gay marriage, but it was shown to be fabricated.
A number of states have recently considered legislation that would affect transgender people, including a recently passed North Carolina law that requires people to use bathrooms that align with their biological sex at birth.