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.