London, Nov 6: Healthcare professionals, and in particular nurses, are more biased against transgenders than people who are not healthcare professionals, finds a study.
According to the study, published in the journal Heliyon, nursing healthcare professionals were significantly more likely to agree with statements like “I believe a person can never change their gender” or “I think there is something wrong with a person who says they are neither a man nor a woman” compared to other healthcare professionals and non-healthcare professionals.
“Our finding that nurses have higher levels of implicit bias towards transgender people may be related to a tendency to conflate sex and gender identity, as shown by higher levels of agreement with transphobic statements that conflate these two distinct concepts,” wrote authors Daniel W. Derbyshire of the University of Exeter and Tamsin Keay of Coventry University.
The study is based on a survey of 11,996 nursing healthcare professionals and 22,443 non-nursing healthcare professionals from 2020 to 2022, whose responses were compared to 177,810 responses of non-healthcare professionals.
A questionnaire administered before and after the test shows that healthcare professionals are less likely to know transgender people personally and that nurses are more likely to conflate sex and gender identity.
The questionnaire asked participants to categorise groups of people with “good” words like “nice” or “laughter” and “bad” words like “nasty” or “rotten.”
It also asked about the participants’ relationships with transgender people in their daily lives. While healthcare professionals -- including nurses and non-nurses -- were more likely to have met a transgender person than non-healthcare professionals, they reported that they were less likely to have a transgender friend or family member.
“This suggests that healthcare professionals’ (both nurses and non-nurses) experience of interacting with transgender people may be largely confined to a work context,” the team wrote.