A study published in the journal Science, it revealed that 10 minutes of conversation with a transsexual individual will very likely change your mind towards a more tolerant point of view.
The procedure was performed in Miami by 56 participants. They had to visit voters in the area and discuss issues regarding the transgender community as there was an ordinance passed that is to reduce ongoing discrimination against LGBT individuals.
The 56 canvassers were prepared by the Los Angeles LGBT Center to effectively engage with people by using specially designed psychological techniques.
How does it work?
It is a system known as “Deep Canvassing”. It is a popular method among people who run for office positions. It requires the canvasser to spend several minutes, even hours, with a single voter in order to get to know them and develop empathetic feelings towards the desired cause.
The process began to take effect in 2009, after Proposition 8 was declined, which enabled same-sex marriage in the state of California. LGBT center volunteers proceeded to lobby and investigate why had they lost the voting; then they noticed that people reacted as they were faced with the vulnerable side of LGBT people, so they unexpectedly started to become more accepting of same-sex marriage.
The canvassers involved in the study visited 501 voters, and through a randomized trial, it was revealed that the conversations were able to reduce homophobia for at least 3 months, even if the voter is presented with contrary arguments.
Among the canvassers, there were both cis and trans individuals, but there was no indication of a significant difference between the results of the talks depending on the canvasser.
Statistics show that 90 percent of Americans know a gay person and 35 percent know a trans person; for experts, it is pretty clear that LGBT spokespersons engaging in Deep Canvassing and in similar activities are able to spread the sense of tolerance, as each day more laws are passed that grant protection and rights to LGBT individuals.