The left’s obsession of late with transgender people and trans issues is worthy of study. Trans people constitute about 0.6% of the US population — so are a tiny minority.

Obviously, they deserve the same rights as everyone else, but why this obsessive focus on such a small population where any gain in rights will have only minimal effect? If you’re thinking it has something to do with the ideology of neoliberalism, you’re heading the right direction. Increasingly granular “choices” must be defended at all costs under such an ideology, and all of life treated as a consumer behavior. This includes not only the supposed choice of deciding one is not the correct gender but that there must be such a strong delineation of gender in the first place, and that altering it is just a matter of changing one’s mind and then buying all of the accoutrements associated with the “opposite” gender.

Perversely, this also means that neoliberal feminism recognises gender inequality while simultaneously denying that socioeconomic and cultural structures shape our lives. In an article I can’t now find, there was also the perspicacious observation that there is a double movement where gender is blurred together or sharply delineated, depending on which approach allows for the most profit under the neoliberal order.

All of the strange concentration on transgender issues when much of the rest of the world is literally burning down around them, then, is an ideal focus from a marketing and profit perspective — it concentrates attention (as with the plastic bag and straw ban) on politically and socially inconsequential areas, while the great crimes go unexamined and uncontested. Additionally, it increases profits as consumption is doubled or tripled for a class of people that, while small, receive enormous attention thus further strengthening the ethos that ideology is most properly displayed and declared in the form of consumption preferences.