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I do agree, but it’s so cultlike that I fear some of them join in initially to virtue signal and then start to truly buy into it on some level, maybe especially the younger ones who have been exposed to it since they were kids/young teens with very little opposing (science/reality-based) frame of reference, at least in their echo-chamber social circles.

It becomes part of their core identity, like some Q Anon conspiracy theorist/cult member, and they only associate with others with similar delusions as they get more and more entrenched and invested.

I think some of them really are that delusional, unfortunately. Look at the parents who think their 3 year old daughter liking blue and playing in mud means she’s trans. Sometimes there’s a gray area where it’s hard to tell if they’re cosplaying/BSing at this, or if they’re insane/really that divorced from reality, or both.

Lot of narcissism and attention seeking at play as well on the part of enablers. As you said, BSing for head pats. It’s Cool Girl™️ Handmaiden, trans edition. Aww, I offfered tampons to this dude who thinks he’s a woman. I’m not like other girls because I validate you!

And there’s raging narcissism among the parents transing small children as well- it makes the parents look special, cool, protective, and valid/validating within their social circle, like anti-vaxx parents.