Big Changes, but Are They Big Enough? Healthcare Professionals’ Attitudes toward Transgender Persons


Media interest in transgender issues has increased substantially, yet empirical studies are lacking. Little is known about the attitudes of healthcare professionals regarding transgender identity and transgender persons. Previous studies are decades old or did not differentiate sexual orientation from gender identity. This study fills a gap in the literature and addresses shortcomings seen in previous research on healthcare professionals’ attitudes toward the LGBT population. The authors surveyed 243 healthcare workers, including 83 nurses, 60 doctoral-level healthcare professionals, and 100 other healthcare workers using the Transgender Attitudes and Beliefs Scale (TABS). Results of two-way ANOVAs showed that healthcare professionals on the whole hold generally favorable attitudes toward transgender persons with no differences in attitudes across professions. The current study found gender differences in attitudes consonant with previous findings, with females displaying more-accepting attitudes toward transgender individuals compared to their male counterparts. A chi-square test for independence also found changes in healthcare professionals’ views regarding sex reassignment surgery and mental health potential for transgender persons over the past 30 years. The paper includes discussion of earlier studies along with hypothesized and known correlates of attitudes towards transgender persons in an effort to inform possible strategies to improve healthcare for transgender persons.


Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education

Document Type





attitudes, cultural competence, healthcare, transgender, transphobia

Publication Date


Journal Title

International Journal of Transgenderism