There has been something of an ongoing debate online over the origins of what can be called the "Transgender Paradigm." The rather notorious kook and gender fascist Mr. "Cristan Williams" has tried to claim that the term has a long history, and that the fact that the term, and the movement that has pushed it as an umbrella term arose pretty much starting in the mid-Nineties is a "myth." Mr. Williams has provided quite a bit of highly questionable (at best) evidence, and has tried to bury opponents in an heap of ad hominem attacks and arrogance.
Well, yesterday, a very geeky web comic, that has nothing to do with transsexualism or transgender, happened to provide a link that led me to what has been missing this argument. Real evidence. Google has a site that allows you to analyze the occurrence of a collection terms in a large collection of books over a time range.
So, I checked the occurrence of three terms, "transsexual," "transvestite," and "transgender" from 1960 to the most recent data, which is 2008. The results, to say the least, destroy Mr. Williams' claims.
As can be seen from the graph, the term "transgender" is completely absent until around 1990. It then starts to becomes a bit more common during the mid-Ninties, until it finally becomes more common around 2001.
Contrary to Mr. Williams' claims, it is clear that what has been claimed by most is true. The "Transgender Movement" began in the Nineties, become increasingly active during that decade. It was effectively non-existent before 1989 at the absolute earliest.
Unlike Williams, who seems to have access to information that, well, no one else actually does, anyone can check this out for their own self. Go to http://books.google.com/ngrams and try it for yourself. You can use the values I used, or those of your own choosing. But, as they say, the matter speaks for itself.
As I have said for some time, while it is possible that there might have been isolated incidents where the term "transgender" was used, it was not a common term, and the movement that we now deal with did not exist, before around 1990. It is, instead, a very recent phenomenon, and well, Mr. Williams is delusional at best, and more likely deliberately deceptive.