A NEW LOOK AT TRANS IN AMERICA. The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation have done a study on American adults classified as trans. The headline of the Washington Post write-up of the study is: “Most trans adults say transitioning made them more satisfied with their lives.” That’s the story the Washington Post wants to emphasize. But some of the information in the study might also help inform the political debate about how to handle the issue in U.S. schools, businesses, and elsewhere.
First, the study cites the number of adults classified as trans in the United States. The figure is actually not from the study but from one last year done by the UCLA Williams Institute, which said that 1.6 million people in the U.S. age 13 and above call themselves trans. With a U.S. population of 333 million, that works out to slightly below one-half of 1% of Americans above the age of 13 who call themselves trans.
This is, in other words, a very small group. And the number, 1.6 million, includes the significant number of young Americans, between the ages of 13 and 17, who are increasingly calling themselves trans. To the degree that that reflects a certain amount of social contagion and not some new, never-before-seen biological reality, the total estimate of trans people in America, 1.6 million, might actually shrink in the next few years as some of those 13-17-year-olds age.
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The survey covers some of the basic facts of the lives of people who call themselves trans. For example, it reveals that a large majority — 69% — of people who call themselves trans have not used hormone treatments. An even larger majority — 84% — have not had surgery. Most of them, 77%, told researchers they simply changed the types of clothes they wear and/or their hairstyle.
Now, remember the headline: “Most trans adults say transitioning made them more satisfied with their lives.” The study’s results make clear that, in most cases, increased life satisfaction came without hormone treatments or surgery. And yet today, there is an alliance of activists on the left — ideologues, interest groups, for-profit medical enterprises, and the Biden administration’s public health departments — that promote life-altering, irreversible procedures for young Americans. They have given it a euphemistic name, “gender-affirming care,” and have established medical facilities that specialize in drastic treatments. They have castigated Republicans who disapprove of such procedures for people under the age of 18 as if that were a hateful and bigoted, rather than a well-considered and entirely reasonable, position.
The survey also looked into the everyday behavior of people who call themselves trans. It found that a large majority — 70% — do not present themselves as trans in public all the time. Some never do. “Trans people don’t always present as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth,” the Washington Post said. “Three in ten trans people physically present as a different gender all the time, while 20 percent do so ‘most of the time.’ Another 34 percent present as a different gender some of the time, and a small but significant share (16 percent) say they ‘never’ physically present as a gender different from their sex assigned at birth.”
Finally, the survey found that a majority of people characterized as trans actually prefer to be referred to as something else. The researchers found that 62% of those surveyed preferred to be called “nonbinary” or “gender non-conforming,” while only 22% preferred to be called a “trans woman” and 12% a “trans man.”
What does it all mean? The first and most important thing is that the growing trans industry needs to hit the brakes on performing life-altering, irreversible procedures — surgery and puberty-blocking hormone treatments — on minors. People are capable of deciding to have such procedures once they are old enough to choose for themselves, and the evidence in the survey shows that a large majority ultimately do not choose hormones or surgery. If the issue were less political, and less impassioned, and if there were not big money at stake for the medical institutions that have gone all-in on trans as a business, if all that were true, the situation would be much, much better.
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