It is possible that our culture is not just revealing transgender individuals, it is creating them. If so, we can expect tremendous growth, as an entire industry is emerging to meet the growing need. From education specialists designing “safe schools” for transgender children, to transgender practitioners, publicly funded medical clinics, reimbursement schedules, and a growing body of academic work and activism, the transgender industry has exploded. Canadian philosopher Ian Hacking uses the term “semantic contagion” in his book Rewriting the Soul to describe the way in which publicly identifying and describing a condition like transgenderism creates the means by which that condition spreads.
One clue that social scientists interested in determining whether the cause is cultural is to look closely at whether the condition is evenly spread throughout the United States. If it were truly a biological fact, it would be equally distributed throughout the population. But it isn’t. Williams Institute data reveals that the highest percentage of transgender-identified adults live in Washington, DC, Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Georgia, and Texas. Washington, DC has nearly double the number of transgender individuals as the next highest state (Hawaii). The Williams study’s authors dismissed this finding for Washington, DC as an “outlier due to its unique geographic and demographic profile.” But why? The percentage of individuals living in the District of Columbia who identify as transgender is 2.8 percent—more than triple the percentage of those living in the next highest states of Hawaii or California (.78 percent and .76 percent respectively). And, the percentage of transgender individuals in the District of Columbia is more than nine times greater than the .3 percent living in North Dakota or .31 percent in Iowa. Hardly an equal distribution. — from “Transgenderism: Semantic contagion or biological fact?”