Erasing Lesbians, Transing the Gay Away.
These are yet more in a seemingly endless supply of claims made by trans hostile activists in their quest to dehumanise, demean and marginalise transgender people.
‘Transing the gay away’ and ‘erasing lesbians’ narratives in part rely on the false notion that certain trans people become opposite sex attracted when we start living authentically – ie a trans man who previously lived as a lesbian woman becomes ‘straight’ on transitioning, but others, such as trans women remain ‘straight’ after transitioning rather than being it being acceptable to use the term ‘lesbian’ that may actually best fit their attraction.
In other words, creating the artificial impression of a ‘population drain’ in the LGB community by refusing to acknowledge trans people exist.
What trans hostile activists really don’t like is that labels around sexuality, sexual orientation and identity are only defined loosely, rather than rigidly – because like everything to do with sex, sexuality and gender – the reality is infinitely more complex, and deeply individual than they want to admit to. Instead, like the nasty little authoritarians they are, they seek to control both the definitions of these terms, and who can use them as an attempt to deny trans people the language to describe our own experiences.
But let us entertain for a moment the possibility that these claims are true, and trans people really are erasing LGB people. If it’s true, surely population numbers would prove that was the case? Evidently now, or we’re really not very good at it as the claims fall apart like tissue paper in the rain at even a cursory examination.
Data is Inconvenient for Trans Hostile Activists
Actually, let’s have a look at all LGB people, rather than lesbians specifically.
As we know, accurate figures for sexuality identity have been difficult due to the same historical social prejudices faced by gay, lesbian and bi people as for trans people, but they have been improving in recent years due to better social acceptance and improvements in LGBT rights.
The 2011 census didn’t even ask any questions about sexuality – but that doesn’t mean we don’t have some data.
From the ONS:
|Gay / Lesbian|
(Male % Pop)
(Female % Pop)
(Male % Pop)
(Female % Pop)
2015 – 2020
|+ 1.4||+ 0.8||+ 0.9||+ 0.4||+ 0.8||+ 0.4||+ 0.9|
As we can see, the percentage of the population that are LGB has increased steadily since 2015, and that percentage is greater each year in terms of actual numbers of people due to population growth.
In fact, if we compare that, the numbers of LGB people are growing as a significant proportion of general population growth in most years:
There are some caveats that we need to note about the ONS data however.
Sexuality is self reported – it does not rely on predefined, absolute definitions.
No questions appear to be asked in relation to identity
Therefore the figures are based on the assumption everyone is cisgender
This is where the trans hostile activists will chime in with ‘trans people are skewing the data – it’s same sex attraction, not same gender!’. Semantic arguments on the nature of attraction aside – no. We have to take the figures as they stand because that’s all we have. Anything else is complete guesswork.
Anyone claiming trans people are ‘skewing the data’ would need to have some actual data on trans people’s sexuality to work with – which didn’t exist prior to the National LGBT Survey in 2018.
The reality as shown by the National LGBT Survey is that transgender people’s sexuality is actually more varied than cisgender people’s, and when the 2021 Census is released that will provide additional data, enabling a comparison between the Census and the National LGBT Survey. With this we can establish an extremely crude indicator of trends for trans people’s sexuality – but we are not there yet as that’s still at least 18 months away.
Without historical data it becomes impossible to work out what proportion of the LGB population questioned might be transgender in previous years. So while it is likely that trans people are represented in the ONS data above – by how much is a complete unknown.
It is equally possible that trans people fall under the Other / Don’t know categories (which have changed very little each year, as you can see in the 2019 ONS data linked above).
Claims that trans people are skewing data are complete hyperbole – they are literally made up from nothing.
With clearly rising trends and population numbers over the last five years for the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual population of the UK:
The only conclusion we can reach is that no one is being erased, and no one is ‘transing the gay away’.
Based purely on numbers, both in percentage terms, and population figures – it is quite the opposite in fact.
Despite claims to the contrary, Lesbians haven’t been erased, and LGB people haven’t been ‘transed’ – because there are more lesbians, gay men and bisexual people in the UK now than in 2015 – not less.
But trans hostile activists don’t like that inconvenient truth.
There’s also another aspect we need to look at, which is quite complex due to multiple, intersecting claims and assumptions made by trans hostile activists.
And that is the idea that gay people are transitioning in order to avoid homophobia, or being told they’re really transgender through ‘affirming’ therapy. Commonly these are arguments aimed squarely at trans kids and young people, but not exclusively so.
We will be addressing this in part two.