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This study aims to test bigenderism, a universalistic theory that purports to explain why trans men employees enjoy greater organizational acceptance and superior economic…
This study aims to test bigenderism, a universalistic theory that purports to explain why trans men employees enjoy greater organizational acceptance and superior economic outcomes compared to trans women employees.
Respondents were presented with one of two case studies in which they had to choose whether or not to respect the right of a trans employee to use the restroom of their choice at work. The only difference between the two case studies was the gender of the trans employee. In one case, the employee was a trans man and in the other case, the employee was a trans woman.
The gender of the trans employee had no impact on the choices of the respondents.
The chief research implication is that heightened discrimination against trans men may better be explained by situational theories of transphobia rather than the universalistic theory that was tested in this paper. The primary research limitation was the use of American undergraduate business students as respondents.
Organizations need to be especially vigilant in protecting the restroom rights of their transgender employees, which may entail eliminating gender-segregated restrooms.
This paper is original in that it uses an experimental design to test the theory of bigenderism. It adds value by encouraging experimental research that examines situational theories of transphobia.
The purpose of this paper is to enhance the understanding of employers’ responses to the restroom requests of transgender employees, and to assess the ability as educators…
The purpose of this paper is to enhance the understanding of employers’ responses to the restroom requests of transgender employees, and to assess the ability as educators to reduce transphobia in the students.
Subjects were 194 undergraduate business students at a medium-sized public university in the northeastern USA who were enrolled in an undergraduate course in organizational behavior. During class, they read a brief case which asked the students to play the role of a CEO in Little Rock, Arkansas, receiving a complaint from a female employee about using the same restroom as a coworker who is transitioning from male to female.
The most inclusive response was also the rarest, with only 27 percent of students recommending unisex bathrooms. Hostile actions, forcing the transitioning employee to use the men's restroom, were recommended by 38 percent of those who correctly realized that an employee would be unprotected by sexual orientation discrimination law in this case and by 30 percent of those who thought that she could sue for that type of discrimination in that jurisdiction.
It would be interesting to replicate this with non-student samples such as human resource managers and executives. The use of a US sample and of a text-based case can also be viewed as weaknesses. Because gender identity is embodied, self-constructed, and socially constructed, no single research study can capture the totality of work life for transgender employees.
Transphobia is so powerful that a substantial percentage of the students recommended courses of action that they believed to be illegal even though the study was designed to discourage a hostile response. Employers that are concerned about transgender rights will need to do a lot more than just grafting the word “transgender” onto their extant set of policies.
Since today's business students are tomorrow's business leaders, the authors could eventually make the business world more tolerant if the authors could identify a message that resonates with the students and causes them to re-evaluate their homophobia and transphobia.
Empirical studies of transgender issues have been dominated by the qualitative approach, so there is a need for more quantitative research on this topic. The hostile responses usually indicated greater acceptance of transgender employees who have completed gender reassignment surgery. This seems difficult to reconcile with a conception of transphobia as a generalized distaste towards all those who transgress gender norms.