It’s been long-understood anecdotally that personal experience with someone who is different from you naturally breeds empathy — just look at how Right-wing lawmakers always seem to come out in support of same-sex marriage as soon as someone in their family comes out of the closet.
But a new study published by the journal Science examines the idea methodically for the first time in regards to one of the next major pushes for justice — transgender rights.
The findings present a clear path for activists to effect tangible change in voters’ attitudes. It concludes that “deep canvassing,” or door-to-door outreach focused on engaging people to reflect on the the times they’ve been treated differently, will often lead to a lasting shift in the way that person views trans issues.
56 volunteers from the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which paved the way for these calm, reflective doorstep conversations, and members of SAVE, South Florida’s largest organization promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, participated in the study.
“The moment for me, when I knew we had something, was when we got the data back from the three-week survey, and found that the effects persisted completely and remained large,” said Dr. Broockman, as assistant professor in Stanford’s graduate school of business.
Below is a video from the Los Angeles LGBT Center explaining the results and showing how the conversations were conducted: