A great deal of the transgender debate is unexplained. One of the most mystifying aspects is the speed and success of a small number of small organisations in achieving major influence over public bodies, politicians and officials. How has a certain idea taken hold in so many places so swiftly?
People and organisations that at the start of this decade had no clear policy on or even knowledge of trans issues are now enthusiastically embracing non-binary gender identities and transition, offering gender-neutral toilets and other changes required to accommodate trans people and their interests. These changes have, among other things, surprised many people. They wonder how this happened, and why no one seems to have asked them what they think about it, or considered how those changes might affect them.
Some of the bodies that have embraced these changes with the greatest zeal are surprising: the police are not famous social liberals but many forces are now at the vanguard here, even to the point of checking our pronouns and harassingelderly ladies who say the wrong thing on Twitter.
How did we get here? I think we can discount the idea that this is a simple question of organisations following a changing society. Bluntly, society still doesn’t know very much about transgenderism. If you work in central London in certain sectors, live in a university town (or at a university) or have children attending a (probably middle-class) school, you might have some direct acquaintance. But my bet is that most people don’t know any trans people and don’t have developed views about how the law should evolve with regards to their status.
So the question again: how did organisations with small budgets and limited resources achieve such stunning success, not just in the UK but elsewhere?