A new report shows that levels of gender non-conformity declined in 2021
The number of people identifying as trans and non-binary may have peaked, a new report suggests.
Between 2020-21, the number of American undergraduates from the leading 50 universities identifying as non-binary fell from 1.5% in 2020 to 0.85% in 2021. This is, as the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology (CSPI) notes, a ‘substantial decline’ that is supported by two other data points.
The first is data from Britain’s Tavistock Clinic, a specialist mental health trust in London. It shows that referrals for transgender surgery rose from 136 in 2010-11 to a peak of around 2,745 in both 2018-19 and 2019-20, before dropping to 2,383 in 2020-21. Elsewhere, Canadian census data, which is the first of its kind to report on transgender and non-binary people, shows that the share of trans and non-binary people is among the 20 to 24 population (0.85%), but then declines to 0.73% for those aged 15 to 19.
Researcher Eric Kaufmann notes that this decline is especially significant in light of the 1,000% increase in the share of American teenagers identifying as trans over the past 10 years. It also stands in stark contrast to other LGBT categories, identification for which shows no sign of slowing down. Since 2008, the number of people identifying as LGBT has tripled between 2012 and 2021, with Left-wing Americans far more likely to be LGBT than those on the Right.
According to CSPI, nearly a third of American liberals under 30 are LGBT whereas less than 10% of conservatives record a non-heterosexual identity. Kaufmann attributes this ideological divergence to a ‘more sexually liberal and modernist transgressive youth culture’ which values difference. This has made the biggest impact on on young, female, and very liberal people in part because their sexual feelings are more fluid and open than those of others due to underlying psychological factors, but also thanks to ideological polarisation.
In light of this LGBT explosion, it is significant that gender nonconformity might have already hit its saturation point. Though it is important to not read too much into a year’s worth of data, the decline may indicate that trans numbers are slowly reaching an equilibrium.