in Derp

Mythbusting: Transgender Colonization

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Despite what you’ve heard from the so-called ‘TS Separatists’, it doesn’t seem as if transsexuals were “colonized” at all.

The Data, Part 1

Consider the following dataset:

TGP-TSP-TGs-TSs-TGC

- click graph to enlarge -

What is this you might ask?

This is a comparison of the following 5 terms:

  • Transgender People (light blue)
  • Transsexual People (red)
  • Transgenders (green)
  • Transsexuals  (yellow)
  • Transgender Community (dark blue)

This is a graph of how many times the above terms were used in 20,090,715 books from the year 1970 through the end of 2007 (37 years worth of data). Data from the last 2 years is not yet available.

Lets take a closer look at this data. Here’s the same metric presented for the years 1990 – 2008:

1990-2008-TGP-TSP-TGs-TSs-TGC

- click graph to enlarge -

In other words, is this what “colonization” looks like?

TGs-TSs

- click graph to enlarge -

This is a comparison of the following 2 terms:

  • Transgenders (blue)
  • Transsexuals (red)

image

- click graph to enlarge -

This is a comparison of the following 2 terms:

  • Transgender People (blue)
  • Transsexuals (red)

 

A Note About Valid Data

I’m looking at terms used for grouping people together into a community*. In other words, it would not be an apples-to-apples example if I used the following:

aloked

- click graph to enlarge -

In this graph, we have two terms used to explore the very specific idea of groups (‘transsexual people’ and ‘transsexual community’) and a term that can be used in a multitude of ways: transsexual (transsexual books, transsexual makeup tips, etc). Obviously comparing a dataset that includes concepts like ‘transsexual books’ cannot be considered as being a valid comparison to datasets that explicitly looks at transsexuals as groups.

Similarly, this is not a valid comparison:

3

- click graph to enlarge -

If someone wanted to be dishonest, they could claim that this graph proves that ‘transsexual people’ (red) have been colonized by the term ‘transgender’ (blue). If this is what you see when you look at this dataset, you need to be working at Fox News.

Exactly like the first dataset that compares ‘transsexual people’, ‘transsexual community’, and the general term ‘transsexual’, the above dataset does the same thing: compares 2 explicit concepts (transsexual people, transsexual community) against one term that can be used in a multitude of ways: transgender (transgender books, transgender makeup tips, etc).

I know… a TS Separatist will inevitably run off to google and compare ‘transgender’ and ‘transsexual’ and present it saying…

4

- click graph to enlarge -

See! See! See!!! THIS PROVES IT! Transsexual has been colonized by transgender!!! This is an apples-to-apples chart! It compares transsexual (red) to transgender (blue) and transgender came out on top!!!

To which I would say that you would be correct if ‘transgender’ referred to one type of trans person or experience, but it doesn’t. This is a comparison between a term that refers to one specific type of trans person or experience and a term that refers to all types of trans people or experiences. If anything, this shows that there was almost NO change (there was, in fact, a small net increase) in the amount of times the term ‘transsexual’ was used in the year 1990 as compared to the year 2008.

 

The TS Separates Logic

I can hear a TS Separatist somewhere saying, “Just looking at how often these terms were used in 20 million books isn’t proof that there’s not a colonization going on!” To which I would say… “Ah, the old teapot argument…”

logic

Here’s an example of TS Separatist logic:

Also, late transitioning transgender males and white heterosexual cross dressing males are not the only ones who have the right to vote on issues pertaining to transsexual, transgender and intersex (TTI) equality, however, they have colonized the transsexual community. The results of this colonization has been devastating to the progress of transsexual (TS) and intersex (IS) Americans. Look at the history, and the law books- it’s all there. Ever since cross dressing men and transvestites co-opted the transsexual movement, TS folks have actually LOST already pre-existing rights.

- Ashley Love

There are several claims made in the above statement:

  1. Non-transsexuals have colonized transsexuals.
  2. The result of this was devastating.
  3. The historical record proves the above two claims.
  4. Transsexuals had more rights before there was a transgender community.

Is any historical record actually given to support these claims? Nope. She asserts, “Look at the history, and the law books- it’s all there.” Did she bother to even cite even one source? Nope. Looking at the historical record isn’t welcome or wanted for a number of TS Separatists. For them, the name of the game is ‘Prove to me that I don’t have a baseball!’ I understand that reviewing 20 million books to see if there has been a colonization by the transgender community isn’t absolute proof that ‘there is no baseball.’ I’m not saying that the data ‘proves there is no baseball‘; what I am saying is that this data doesn’t seem to support the victim narrative favored by a number of TS separatists.

The Data, Part 2

Okay then. Let’s look at the internet search and news reference volumes over the past 7 years or so:

image

This is a comparison of the same 2 terms we looked at in The Data, Part 1:

  • Transgenders (blue)
  • Transsexuals (red)

What do you see most of in the above dataset – red or blue?

image

The above is a comparison of the same 5 terms we looked at in The Data, Part 1:

  • Transgender People (light blue)
  • Transsexual People (red)
  • Transgenders (orange)
  • Transsexuals  (green)
  • Transgender Community (purple)

If anything, this review of how people look for groupings of trans people shows that news stories and searches for ‘transsexuals’ (only one type of trans person) far exceeds parity. In other words, transsexuals are but one constituent grouping found within the transgender community (according to the English language). However, transsexuals beat out the transgender community in terms of both search and news reference volume a number of times. If there was really a colonization going on, one would expect that ‘transsexuals’ and ‘transsexual people’ would have been completely obliterated in search volume and news reference.

However, what does one find? One finds that for google the…

Transgender Community’ does not have enough search volume for ranking.

This is what you also find:

image

7/23/211 EDIT: One critique was that I didn’t include USA-only data in this section. So, here’s the US-only data as well:

The top searches from the top subregions:

 


The top searches from the top cities:

 

See that green bar? That represents search volume for “transsexuals” in the top 10 regions. See those other blips that look like dots instead of bars in the bar-graph? That represents search volume for:

  • Transgender People (light blue)
  • Transsexual People (red)
  • Transgenders (orange)
  • Transgender Community (purple)

Just to drive the point home:

image

- English Searches, Worldwide -

- English Searches, USA Only -

That orange lump represents ‘transgenders’ and the light blue speck represents ‘transgender people’. The huge green bar represents search volume for ‘transsexuals’.

 

Trolls

The amount of drama created by those that paint themselves as the oppressed victims of a Borg that stripped them of their self-identity is incalculable. In fact, that’s their point:

image

A while back, two of us got together and formed an internet group.  We formed with just one premise, i.e., to speak individually, but as one voice, in challenging the transgender at every opportunity.  We don’t sit around writing endless narrative.  We don’t sit around quoting the latest research.  We are coordinated. We act.  We respond.  And, we do so consistently, persistently, and reasonably.  Our group is growing and we’ve succeeded in shutting down threads spouting TG non-sense.  When someone’s name is brought up for membership in our group their position on the gender debate is discussed in depth.  Each of us come from different spheres of internet experience, all of which are related to the gender debate.  Once we decide amongst ourselves if there is someone out there of whom might share our position we approach them…present a little information, ask if they think they might be interested in joining.  Some have accepted.  Some have declined.  Most have not been asked to join.  All of us share one thing in common:  a sense of loyalty and unity in our quest to speak with one voice to the transgender.  If one of us goes at someone, we all go at them.  If someone attacks one of us, they may as well attack each and every one of us.  We know who our allies are…and aren’t… for sure.

- Susan

I understand that the trolls in the above group aren’t interested in what the data has to say. I get that they will claim that google’s data is bad or that the data I’ve presented here is somehow wrong or irrelevant. I also understand that providing objective historical evidence that calls their victim narrative into question will be disregarded or they will question the authenticity of the historical record.

I’m not interested in feeding the trolls; that’s not why I’ve been doing this research. As I’ve said before, I’m personally grateful for the drive to fact check their unsubstantiated assertions.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you too were on the receiving end of a barrage of ad hom attacks from these trolls and/or you’re genuinely interested in researching the facts  associated with some of their unsubstantiated assertions.

I encourage everyone to fact-check the data and/or historical record I’ve presented. I urge you to do your own research and (PLEASE!) add it to the available historical record online. However, please stop engaging these trolls. I’ve tried to engage them before and it’s like talking to a creationist. They seem to have a belief (unsupported by objective evidence) about the world and in their version of reality, they are being attacked; they’re victims of stupid people who’ve harmed them. You won’t change their minds. It’s best that you don’t engage them.


*Community: I use this term in a manner consistent with the current English langue to mean:

community

Research tools I used for this post: Google TrendsGoogle Book Ngram Viewer

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  1. Interesting research, but a little flawed.

    One of the things you must also take into consideration is how Google Trends translates non-English words and the words that are used. Since "transgender" is more of a North American thing, you will find that many foreign dictionaries will use "transsexual" or "transvestite". In Japan, crossdressers and drag performers are called "new half" ニューハーフ.. this word sometimes also refers to transsexuals however many Japanese dictionaries will call a "transsexual" a "new half". The only other word that may come up in Japanese is "sei tenkan" 性転換 which refers to "sex change". "sei tenkan no" 性転換の actually translates to "transsexual" in Google but that is not correct as "no" の is used to identify an adjective or adverb or show possessive like an apostrophe-s in English. However "sei tenkan no hito" 性転換の人 translates in Google to "transsexual people" which literally means "sex change people". Could you imagine if the American media called post-ops, "sex change people"? 性転換の人 does not return any results in Google search, however 性転換 does return mainly information about surgery as well as animation series featuring characters who transform from one sex to another (such as Ranma 1/2, etc.)

    If you look at a comparison of transsexual, transgender, transvestite and crossdresser, you will see that "transvestite" is used very significantly, especially in the UK.

    Now, if you narrow down to the United States, you can see while the use of transsexual has been fairly flatlined throughout the evaluation period, around 2008, you see a surge of transgender being used for news.. possibly due to the activities of GLAAD to use that word to refer to everyone.

    Therefore, if you look at the North American trend, transgender much more widely used than transsexual.. I would consider that "transgender colonization".

    • Yes, I agree with your basic critique! While the Asian translations may indeed provide for a margin of error, I’m not sure that it would be statistically significant since the vast majority of what is reviewed in the metric are English language words.

      If you look at a comparison of transsexual, transgender, transvestite and crossdresser, you will see that “transvestite” is used very significantly, especially in the UK.

      Yes, because over there, TV and CD are still fairly synonymous and can be used in various contexts; however, this observation isn’t relevant to the topic of this post. I’m looking at terms used for describing trans groupings. The search terms you cite aren’t relevant to trans groupings in that your search terms are just as relevant to trans groupings as they are to trans books, makeup, policy, porn, etc. The claim that I’m addressing in this post is that the transsexual community was colonized a transgender community. When doing a search for the terms you suggest (transsexuals, transgenders, transvestitse and crossdressers) – just directed towards towards groupings, this is what we actually find:

      In Books:

      In world-wide Search Volume:

      In USA-wide Search Volume:

      In the English language world-wide:

      And in the English language USA-wide:

      Using a term that (according to the English language) encompasses *all types* of trans people should be used more – all the time in these data sets. However, that’s not what we find. We find time and again that one group supersedes “transgenders” and that is “transsexuals” – otherwise the uses are about even… And that is not “transgender colonization”. Again, if “transgender colonization” was a reality, one would find that all other forms of trans people (from crossdressers to transsexuals) were obliterated by “transgenders”… and that’s just not what is to be found.

      You seem to be claiming (or perhaps only insinuating?) that translations of foreign words via google may invalidate the entire dataset (without any evidence) even when I’ve shown that the term ‘transsexuals’ dominate searches in English searches.

      Further, you’ve made a fallacious comparison: You compared the search you preformed using terms that aren’t specific to the topic of this post and held it up – Fox News style – as being proof of “transgender colonization”.

      Therefore, if you look at the North American trend, transgender much more widely used than transsexual.. I would consider that “transgender colonization”.

      No, a VALID search would be to review data for Transgender People, Transsexual People, Transgenders, Transsexuals, and Transgender Community… which I’ve already done… It just seems like you didn’t like the results for some reason.

  2. Actually, this has nothing to do with the TGs hijacking and abusing the TS-only community. Checking who looks for what term has nothing to do with the issues of power, representation, or control. You could use the same tactics to try to prove the apartheid never existed in African. 70-85% of the continent is Black, right? So they were the majority race, right? Yes, but the White minority had ALL the political power. Another example as to why this is an inappropriate measure is China. When the Communists took over, they didn't rename the country or fill it with people of another nationality. They kept the name China while redefining what it meant.

    At one time, there was a separate TS and TG community. That makes sense. TSs fix their bodies to run from pain. TGs partially "transition" to seek out pleasure. TSs need transition and have the most serious gender conflict, but TGs only desire and want it. It is like taking pain pills. Some take them for pain, others take them to get high. Lumping those who take pills for pain in with drug addicts and dealers is degrading and insulting. TSs once were assumed to be ugly women, not "men becoming women" nor cross-dressers. The idea was to fix the birth defect and blend into mainstream society, totally destroying the problem. TSs had defacto rights, and could get their paperwork changed and marry as heterosexual women. Now, they have lost a lot of rights, thanks to being lumped in with people most consider even more objectionable, who fight for goals that are nearly opposite of what true-TSs need. Unlike TGs, TSs can speak out publicly against TGs and LGBTs, and without being hypocrites, since they are rightfully mainstream persons with a birth defect, and not gender variant.

    I was a part of some groups specific to TSs and the mods had trouble keeping the CD/TV/non-op/TG/genderqueer people out. Many TGs lied to join or pretending to be actual TSs and would spout the same tired, TG rhetoric that has always harmed TSs.

    Searching for these terms mean nothing, as people misuse them. Mainly it is the media and the LGBs trying to push TS issues under the TG umbrella when TSs don't want under it, but want their own community seen as a subset of the "normal" community and would rather take its chances being hated there. The media thinks transgender is a more sanitary way of saying TS, but they don't mean the same. So that misuse by the media makes people think TS and TG are the same. When a person wants a cross-dressed man with an intact penis, they really mean "transgender" but put in "transsexual." And the actual TGs don't call themselves TGs, but lie and claim to be TSs. So most of the "TS" hits are about TGs, and most of the ones searching for TSs (the searchers being men with a non-op TG fetish) really mean to search for TGs (those who are gender variant and keep their male parts). I've been to many "TS" groups and forums, only to find out they were not specific to TSs, but discussed unrelated groups (TGs and LGBTs) and concerns much more than the people they lied and claimed to be talking about. I'm still trying to figure out how to win TS back from TGs and get the definition back to the original – those who have surgery to have the bodies of the opposite sex for therapeutic reasons. The biggest TG colonizers are actual TSs themselves. The TG-identified TSs are the most harmful and dangerous for TS rights, and they are among the biggest activists.

    • Are you making the argument that colonization does not mean taking over the identity of the term "transsexual"? If that's not your argument, then what, exactly is your argument and what objective evidence can you cite that will support your premise?

    • So, let me get this straight, Purple Girl… if TS people fix their bodies to run from pain, then why did I have to have Percocet last year in order to get to sleep before I could get my broken tooth removed? Shouldn't our bodies naturally produce it? :p

      All kidding aside, I want to say that you're full of shit. How the hell are transsexual people more "main stream" than transgender people? And since you want to restrict the transsexual community to people who have had the surgery, would you say that I became a woman the moment I woke up from the anesthesia in Thailand? If you would, I would disagree as I charge that I have been a woman all my life, surgery having nothing to do with it – transition having nothing to do with it. Mentally stable people transition because they have a gender identity that is at odds with their physiological sex, not because they want to "become women".

    • Furthermore, putting down non-op transsexual women denies their womanhood for a variety of reasons, some of which involve their medical histories. Some of these people might not be able to get sex reassignment surgery due to a number of medical factors. And yet, you want to keep them trapped in a facade of an identity, denying them who they truly are. How dare you! This is why I honestly think that it's not the TG-identified TSs that are harmful or dangerous for TS rights, but rather, TS people who cannot seem to rise above their own prejudices, their own privilege and see these people for who they are. They (who I feel can be accurately referred to as the "transsexual transphobes") justify the prejudices of the cisgender transphobes.

  3. This is not a comment on your assertion, but a comment on the data used.

    Since coming out I have discovered that many in the 'non-trans' world have no idea what any of these terms mean, so you may simply be finding a familiarity with a term rather than a preference. Google indexes what the basic HTML page has in the meta-tag. Most webpage designers put a wide variety of terms in their meta tags in order to reach the widest possible audience, so you will find 'transsexual' in the meta-tag for an inclusive transgender website, along with "transgender, CD, crossdresser, transvestite, genderqueer,,,," et al.. Unless you can show that searches for these words were done by people who knew what the words meant, and that the results of those searches provided only links to transsexualtransgender/??? websites

    Without this secondary information, all you are informing is the use of a term by an uninformed public – a term that is further clouded by webpage designers seeking to get the best positioning in search engines. Not sure that this qualifies as a true indicator of semiotic preference by Google users. It may be better used as an indicator of what webpage designers put in their meta-tags, which is a tool used by search engines to seek relevant pages.

    This is why you get totally unrelated results for some searches: type in "Civil War" and there will be at least one PAID website that will boldly advertise "Get the best deal on Civil War!" or "We have the lowest price on Civil War."

    I am also not sure about your two word search criteria, adding the word "community" to the end of the terms. Again, most people tend to type one-word into search engines, and some search engines **will not index** meta-tags with spaces in them..

    • " Google indexes what the basic HTML page has in the meta-tag."

      Actually, no. That's not at all how Google works. Meta tags are fairly irrelevant in the google indexing algorithms. A "googlebot" crawls each page and the page is indexed according to the page content, incoming and outgoing link and not the meta tags. Site content is then ranked according to the googlebot findings and not on the basis of meta tags. Otherwise, spamers would be able to load their meta tags with fake terms (eg: government, Texas, Republicans, Taxes) when the page is actually porn. In fact, google can even distinguish the content of photos and even classify them.

      Here are some links that might be illuminating for you:
      http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/0

      http://www.googleguide.com/google_works.html

      To hit the point home, consider the following:

      When new search engines emerged in 1998, such as Google and FAST, they didn’t support the tag. The reason was simple. By that time, search engines had learned that some webmasters would “stuff” the same word over and over into the meta keywords tag, as a way of trying to rank better. At the time, search engines didn’t rely so heavily on link analysis, so page stuffing like this was more effective. Alternatively, some site owners would insert words that they weren’t relevant for.

      In July 2002, AltaVista dropped its support of the tag. That left Inktomi as the only major crawler still supporting it, causing me to somewhat famously in the SEO world to declare the tag dead, since it was no longer a major ranking factor for even Inktomi:

      Traffick.com’s Andrew Goodman wrote recently in an essay about meta tags, “If somebody would just declare the end of the metatag era, full stop, it would make it easier on everyone.”

      I’m happy to oblige, at least in the case of the meta keywords tag. Now supported by only one major crawler-based search engine — Inktomi — the value of adding meta keywords tags to pages seems little worth the time. In my opinion, the meta keywords tag is dead, dead, dead. And like Andrew, good riddance, I say!

      http://searchengineland.com/meta-keywords-tag-101

      As to the issue of whether or not a user is looking for crossdressers by using the search term "transsexual", etc, this is why I've included data from books as well. Both sources point to the same conclusion… and that conclusion isn't that the term "transsexual" is no longer being used. If the transsexual community was colonized by an non-transsexual community, the term "transsexual" would have fallen completely out of use. However, that's not what we find, is it? What we find is that "transsexuals" is generally used more than the term "transgenders". There has either been a take-over, or their hasn't. If there has, where is the evidence?