I have a vague hunch that the growth of the transgender movement is somehow related to the Nerd Liberation movement, which was the most unexpected successful identity movement of my lifetime. It’s not clear if autism, Asperger’s, and/or nerdism is becoming more common, but it’s definitely more of an identity than it once was.
There has been a little research into this subject, breaking trans people up into three main categories:
– Effeminate early transitioning male to female trans individuals (ladyboys) are of course not very nerdy at all. They tend to be people persons (e.g., prostitutes) and not big on logic.
– Female to male trans are very nerdy.
– Late transitioning masculine male to female trans people (the Wachowskis, the baseball stats person, my MBA school teammate, the economist, etc.) tend to be at least as nerdy as the average man and much more nerdy than the average woman.
I’ve found that the third category, which includes most of the celebrities and high achievers, tends to have a science fiction aspect to their interests. They often seem like characters from old Heinlein sci-fi stories.
Heinlein, a dedicated professional writer, believed in fan service and studied the wants of his various kinds of fans. In 1941 he was both guest of honor and de facto host of a convention for sci-fi fans at which he emphasized to the attendees that, sure, they might be social outcasts today, but they would be a world-changing elite tomorrow!
It doesn’t strike me as absurd that Heinlein would have sensed a market for these kind of fantasies among some sci-fi fans as early as 1958, the year of his solipsistic transsexual time travel short story “All You Zombies.”
In general, much of transgenderism seems like a weird flavor of a sci-fi fan’s traditional interest in Subduing Nature through New Technology.