A new study shows an increase of more than 100% in online discourse on being transgender in Israel during the period when Michael Alroy participated in the hit tv show Big Brother. The study shows that online discussions improved and people have become more tolerant and receptive. “Many of the viewers were exposed to a transgender person for the first time on the show,” a source says, “and the good impression people had of Michael brought a positive opinion on the entire transgender community.”
The study was published by buzzilla, an Israeli company that specializes in network discourse monitoring. The study was ordered for the Pride Day in the Knesset by the Nir Katz center for fighting LGBTPhobia run by the Aguda.
Buzilla analyzed posts on social networks, news sites and comments, forums, blogs, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, and the results showed an increase of 110% in discourse with 3,670 discussions since the arrival of Michael on the “Big Brother” reality show on Channel 2. Also, it was found that there was 40% more involvement in public discourse, which was reflected in the quantity of participants and responses to a single discussion.
Michael was eliminated from the show on Saturday, but during the two months he spent in the Big Brother house, he was able to influence not only the quantity but also the content of the responses and comments. According to a study before Michael entered the house, 55% of the comments on the trans community were generally negative, 25% neutral and 20% positive. Two months after Michael entered the house on the 7th season of the show, the negative comments were decreased to 20% negative, with 50% balanced, and 30% positive.
In addition, it’s shown that the number of discussions that contain denunciations fell by 60% after the show premiered (from 46% to 19%), discussions on human rights and acceptance were increased by 66% (from 18% to 30%) and a particularly impressive increase was recorded in discussions that deal with the connection between the trans community and religion, because Michael is observant. Only 5% of the conversations dealt with this subject before the beginning of the season and now 16% of the conversations, when most of the people who commented, at a rate of 55%, consider the context of religious beliefs positively and only 15% saw it negatively.
Imri Kalman, co-chairman of the Aguda: “We saw last year three topics that led to an increase in discussion and visibility of the trans community. First and foremost was the decision to choose the transgender community as the main theme of Pride events in 2015. This framework, by the way, was the original platform on which Mikey became famous, when he came out boldly for the first time in front of his collegues. The second topic was the suicide of May Peleg,, a courageous leader of the trans community whose death flooded important issues onto the public agenda. The third point is the entry of Mikey to the ‘Big Brother’ house. There is no doubt that the presence of transgender people in prime time is vital for the community.”