IS THE JUSTICE SYSTEM FAIR TOWARD TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS?
Previous research has shown that the criminal justice system can at times be discriminatory towards minorities. While most of this research has focused on racial discrimination, few studies have evaluated discrimination directed towards the LGBT community. The current study looked at whether there was discrimination against individuals from the LGBT community, specifically transgender individuals in the Texas justice system. A study was conducted to see whether people were more likely to find transgender persons more guilty than people whose gender identities identified with their sex for the same crimes. Participants in the current study were asked to read several vignettes and determine the guilt of the individual. The perpetrator was manipulated to be either a man, woman, transgender man, or transgender woman. The research found that the gender identity made a difference in the murder and robbery crimes but not for the prostitution and peeping crimes. However, contrary to predictions transgender individuals were actually found to be less guilty of murder and robbery than cisgender individuals, while transgender and cisgender individuals were found to be equally guilty for the crimes of prostitution and peeping. These results were not what I had expected, as I thought there would be more prejudice against transgender individuals and they would be more likely to be found guilty. Regardless, results indicate that transgender individuals may be treated differently than cisgender individuals by the justice system, but that they may be treated more leniently.