One estimate, from the United States in , puts the figure at around 0. A very tentative estimate from the UK in suggests there might be thousand people identifying as transgender.
But these estimates are very approximate, because no clear methods yet exist to measure these groups. The pressing need for statistical measurement of gender minorities was debated recently by the Bureau of the Conference of European Statisticians CES , guided by an in-depth review of current practice conducted for UNECE by the statistical offices of Canada and the United Kingdom.
These two countries, along with a small number of other frontrunners—notably the United States, Australia and New Zealand—have already invested a great deal of effort in investigating the statistical needs and implications of the changing gender identity environment. This is a landscape that is constantly changing, often politically sensitive, and associated with very deeply-held viewpoints.
The in-depth review examines the range of social and legal forces that create a need for data on the gender minority population: those whose gender identity does not correspond to their sex given at birth.
For instance, if a country alters its laws to allow people to legally change their sex or gender in official documents such as birth certificates or passports, this affects the data that statistical offices gather. The review also explores user demand and possible practical uses for data on gender identity, and looks at the many challenges in gathering such data.
Ideas ranged from the collection of disaggregated data to ensuring the participation of rural women in government and other structures to the importance of male involvement, accountability and responsibility in gender justice. And the platform provided for faith actors to share what we do, own up and challenge ourselves to fast track the change. What I kept hearing is the social constructs and how they perpetuate gender violations.
And some of these are built by culture and faith which are as diverse as the participants that were in the room.
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However, queer studies scholar Myrl Beam paints an instructive and troubling picture of the victory. On the ballot in Minnesota that same year was another constitutional amendment proposed by conservatives, this one requiring a picture ID to vote.
And indeed, Minnesotan gay activists discovered that their marriage-rights coalition simply was not interested in giving money or time to other issues of significance to broader matters of LGBT rights, such as safe schools and employment non-discrimination. Yarbrough, the team that also organized the After Marriage conference in , from which these books are drawn. Topics in the books—including immigrant rights, welfare reform, grassroots organizing, and polyamory—are all approached through the lens of how legal same-sex marriage has changed the terrain of the battlefield.
Although many of the collected pieces are critical of gay marriage—at least as an end in itself—there is no party line the contributors are asked to toe. To those who see her participation in a conservative faith as an act of assimilation, Moore rejoins:. I am sure the parishioners do not see us as conforming. I believe the visible participation of our little LGBT-parent family in this storefront Holiness church in Queens, New York, is radical, even revolutionary behavior.
Those who say this is conformist have not experienced this type of participation in conservative institutions. Homonormative political strategies argue that queer people deserve rights because they are similar to heterosexuals, rather than challenging how rights and privileges are doled out in society generally.
Full disclosure: I also have an article in the After Marriage series, a transcript of a panel I led on polyamory and family diversity. As a committed pervert, I cannot say that the movement for same-sex marriage has done much for me, other than transform many free summer weekends into jacket-and-tie obligations. Still, I remain unconvinced that doling out tax privileges based on whom we screw adds up to good governance. I am not against marriage, I just see it as an inefficient, lazy, and unnecessarily limiting definition of the kind of relationships that the government has a vested interest in supporting.
As a religious institution, it seems like a hoot; as a civil institution, it is a relic of a time when all people were expected to live one way, worship one god, and die young. The LGBT movement was not always united behind a banner of achieving modest, fundamentally conservative improvements to social standing. For Duberman, the answer is clear: the gay rights movement has failed by betraying its radical roots in favor of an assimilationist agenda—one which, he grants, has been demanded by the majority of gay Americans, and which is exemplified by the Human Rights Campaign, the biggest mainstream gay political nonprofit.
Lesbian and gay politics have always trended toward incrementalism rather than revolution—while, in contrast, queer and trans people have done nothing less than upend the gender binary. In a larger historical frame, the post-Stonewall heyday of radical politicking exemplified by the Gay Liberation Front looks more like an anomalous blip.
Groups such as The Mattachine Society for gay men and The Daughters of Bilitis for lesbians made a gambit for the decriminalization of homosexual acts mainly by arguing that, in every other respect, they were mainline, patriotic Americans. The Mattachine Society even encouraged founding member Harry Hay to leave when public attention was brought to his communist politics. Going even further back, the early queer history of Brooklyn, described in my book When Brooklyn Was Queer , provides a salient example of how sexual minorities in the United States have always had a diverse range of politics, from assimilationist to separatist, and everything in between.
It is probably safe to say, though, that most gay and lesbian Americans across all times, and certainly avant la lettre, have had in common the desire to be seen as utterly unremarkable, at least so far as their sexuality was concerned. In short, lesbian and gay politics in this country have always trended toward incrementalism rather than revolution—while, in contrast, the cultural changes wrought by queer and trans people have done nothing less than upend the entire gender binary.