When I asked KJ Rawson, associate professor of English and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Northeastern University and the director of the Digital Transgender Archive, if he noticed this phenomenon of the “too many trans people,” he told me. that it reminded him of the fringe era of the 19th and 20th century – where so-called monstrosities could multiply and thrive, as long as they stayed inside the circus tent. Back then, he said, there was an idea that “a little bit of sexual transgression was sensational. As long as it’s still in that realm, it’s OK and it’s entertainment.” But he told me that when LGBT people stop being sources of entertainment and start being neighbors, coffee shop owners and even teachers, “I think that’s when those are the moments where you start to see a lot more anxiety about how much power these spaces can generate..”
As for the idea that some trans people are just victims of social trend, Hugh Ryan, a scholar of LGBT history, traced it to the work of 19th-century sexologists in an interview with me. According to Ryan, they made a distinction between “inverts,” who are who they are, and those who exhibit “acquired inversion”—otherwise straight or cisgender people who have come to identify as LGBT due to the influence of others.
Isaac Schorr insert it similarly National Review: “To suggest that social suggestion could play a role in the rising numbers of young girls expressing their desire to become male, for example, is not to suggest that gay and transgender people would not exist without these issues”. discussed in the public square. It’s just to say that people, and especially young people, are susceptible to being influenced about all kinds of things, especially when the arguments they hear come from people in positions of authority – like teachers – and are presented as truth.”
This fear is based on an understanding of gender and sexuality as alarmingly fragile, easily undone by a gay teacher or a trans TikTok influencer. But the vast majority of people are straight and cisgender, and the vast majority will undoubtedly be so in the future. And that will be good, because heterosexuality is good. And so are homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender.
An objective increase in the number of visible LGBT people in the last decade. But the discomfort with that visibility is not an objective fact of life. There is no maximum number of people on earth that can be trans before we face civilizational devastation or planetary collapse. This is the first time in American history that gay and trans people have been able to live as themselves in any real way, with jobs and weddings and dogs and cats and visibility. And when others panic about growing numbers and worry about what “causes” people to be trans (or queer in general), the not-so-hidden message is that repression may be necessary to stop them, as if the temptations of survival were. too attractive otherwise and may appeal too much to “normal” people. Yes, more people are trans now than a few years ago. And that’s… normal.