The transgender moment

So, I’ve been getting a little annoyed for a while at how much coverage transgender issues have been getting in the liberal places I hang out in on-line.  Yes, I absolutely believe in tolerance, equity, fairness, justice– you name it– for transgender people, but this seems to be soaking up a huge amount of liberal oxygen for something that affects a really, really small part of the population.  It’s really hard to estimate, but less than 1% is probably pretty safe.  So, what do I have against people focusing on this?  Honestly, there is only so much political oxygen out there and liberals who want to be active on things have only so much bandwidth.  And there are a lot of issues which I think have a dramatic impact on a lot more people.

I’ve been teaching Gender & Politics for years and this was the first semster ever where a decent number of students seemed to be primarily focused on the rights of transgender people as the key political struggle.  Okay, well and good, I suppose.  But, really?!  There’s still soooo much to be down for women’s equality and women are, you know, half the damn population.  So, again nothing against transgender rights, but if your focus is there, that’s a lot of important issues affecting half the population that will get short shrift.

So, what do I think is going on?  For a while, the way to signify you were a really cutting-edge cultural liberal was to be gay rights.  Well, that’s won and done.  What’s left/next?  Transgender rights.  I really don’t want to denigrate a cause, but I’d love to see this energy focused on issues that affect way more people.  In the end, I’m with Mr. Spock.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to The transgender moment

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    It’s all about distraction. Distraction from women’s issues yes, but even more from wealth inequality.

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