Not that you would know it from the volume of headlines these days, but transgender people constitute a tiny sliver of the population: A 2011 study by the UCLA law school’s Williams Institute estimated that there are only about 700,000 self-identified transgenders in the United States, with perhaps a third of those taking active steps to alter their physical appearance. That contrasts to the more than 9 million people—3.5 percent of the population—who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, according to the Williams Institute…But despite the nearly infinitesimal percentage of transgenders in a country of more than 300 million, they have managed to secure an enviable status in recent years as subjects of lavish media, legislative, and professional attention.
It’s a long and fairly interesting article, and as you might expect, given the source, it emphasizes a bit more of a skeptical perspective toward the dominant trans narrative than most of what you’ll see on the web. I just found this part slightly amusing for plainly implying what is usually discreetly passed over in silence: aside from the worth trans people may have as human beings entitled to the same civil rights as anyone else, they clearly have a lot of symbolitical cash value among those who treat politics as fashion, i.e. online progressives. Obviously, it’s not the sort of thing anyone would ever admit, but equally obviously, there’s a lot of status to be gained from being seen around the scene championing the latest cutting-edge cause, whether you’re personally invested in it or not. Those declining numbers indicate that it’s going to be extremely labor-intensive to find and extract new civil rights resources in the near future, though.
March 2, 2015 @ 8:16 pm
"… except for Lola." A strong, emotionally healthy trans role model. I bet she ain't cuttin' things off herself, either. (It's a free country, but that is fucked up.)
March 2, 2015 @ 11:06 pm
That's really what it comes down to, isn't it? Maybe that should be the new pickup line: "So, uh…what are your preferred holes?"
March 3, 2015 @ 2:21 pm
So you've been in a gay bar at last call?
March 4, 2015 @ 6:28 pm
I just struggle with the idea that people should undergo…surgery…because they have some mental image of themselves at odds with physical reality.
I agree with some of your previous musings over the months that some in the transgender rights movement seem to buy into a gender essentialism ideology in an at heart reactionary way. As difference feminists share this…reactionary????…approach, I wonder if this contributes to the fashionableness?
March 5, 2015 @ 7:20 pm
I would like to throw personality theory and intersectionalism back at the pre-op trans: gender and personality are social constructs – there is no essential "you" separate from society. Therefore, your dissatisfaction with yourself results from something done to you, something you were taught and internalized. Loving yourself as you are, including your body, would do more to heal that pain than surgery to obtain what is actually a socially imposed body image.
March 6, 2015 @ 12:26 am
noel: Yes! That nails it.
Now. do I thibnk people should be beaten up etc. etc. etc.
But at the same time, I'm skeptical that there is a human right to $50,000 surgery in the prison medical system.