Thanks for chiming in.
I wonder if you’ll consider that you’re speaking from very limited exposure, very limited experience. Your small town is not a direct exponent of the wide world.
Also, the main thrust of my article — which I wonder if you understood — is that people were much more reluctant to present themselves to the world as non-conforming or ‘different.’ And if these folks have chosen to stay and live all their lives in a small town surrounded by folks that knew them as children, they will continue to be reluctant to show themselves openly to the world.
I disagree that ‘it must be something in the water.’ I believe that gender-variant and non-conforming people have lived in every society of mankind — we have just faced different levels of oppression, and thus have been fearful to speak up.
In many parts of the world, coming out as gay or gender-variant can result in imprisonment, physical abuse or even death. I came out in California, USA — one of the most open places on Earth — and I faced a fair amount of discrimination. I strongly believe that’s a factor.