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Disgust and disgust-driven moral concerns predict support for restrictions on transgender bathroom access

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2020

Matthew E. Vanaman
CUNY Graduate Center
Hanah A. Chapman
Brooklyn College
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Many U.S. states have proposed policies that restrict bathroom access to an individual’s birth sex. These policies have had widespread effects on safety for transgender and gender-nonconforming people, as well as on state economies. In this registered report, we assessed the role of disgust in support for policies that restrict transgender bathroom access. We found that sensitivity to pathogen disgust was positively associated with support for bathroom restrictions; sexual and injury disgust were unrelated. We also examined the role of disgust-driven moral concerns, known as purity concerns, as well as harm-related moral concerns in support for bathroom restrictions. While concerns about harm to cisgender and transgender people predicted support for bathroom restrictions, purity was a much stronger predictor. Also, purity partially mediated the link between pathogen disgust and support for bathroom restrictions, even after accounting for harm concerns. Findings and implications are discussed.

© Association for Politics and the Life Sciences 2020

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