So after my post on the prevalence of gender-variance, I thought it would be interesting to calculate actual numbers of transsexual and transgender people, just to get an idea of how big a population (constituency? ~_^) we’re talking about here.

Considering the contention around who actually has the right numbers though, I decided to calculate population separately based on each individual investigation or report, listing them in descending order with the oldest report [Tsoi88] at the top, down to [Reed08], the most recent, at the bottom. I know it’s not ideal, but at least it does help to give an indication of what various authorities are saying the populations are. Unfortunately it’s still pretty-much up to each of us to decide for ourselves who we’re gonna listen to. At least until all the big brains and official types can agree.

Before getting started, just a recap of the assumptions and rules I’m using in my calculations:

  1. Overall population statistics are assumed to be a 50% split between assigned male and assigned female.
  2. Adult population aged 18-60 is estimated at two thirds of total population, 67%.
  3. You’ll notice that most of these studies focus exclusively on Male-to-Female (MtF) transsexual people, specifically post-op. This is done mainly because it’s easy – you can point to a definite, irreversible change and obtain statistical data from surgeons fairly easily. Obviously this precludes gender-variant people who can’t have surgery due to financial or health restrictions, or who do not entirely identify as transsexual.
  4. Reliable statistics for the Female-to-Male (FtM) population are much harder to come by as phalloplasty is a much more expensive, dangerous and generally unsuccessful procedure than vaginoplasty. Consequently, many transmen opt not to have surgery, and so never become part of a fairly easily counted population. Historically the ratio has been about one FtM individual for every 2.5 MtF people. Where there’s no data I’ve used this ratio to extrapolate numbers for comparison, though some more recent studies are indicating a higher ratio.
  5. These statistics tend to assume that the majority of the population will have access to information about transsexuality as well as the means to medically transition, since they are based on research in developed countries such as the Netherlands and the United States. The reality in less developed countries is unlikely to correspond to these models. Populations are more likely to be ignorant of the realities or even existence of gender variance, not to mention have little chances of ever having the resources to transition.

So all calculations are for adult populations between the ages of 18 and 60 only, with assigned male and assigned female split exactly 50-50. All population statistics are latest census or estimated figures as per Wikipedia.

I’ve done two sets of calculations, the first based on the lowest prevalence statistics quoted in each respective report, which represents people seeking to transition or already having done so, and where available, a second set based on upper estimates as being representative of total populations of all gender-variant people.


Overview

Tsoi88
Bakker93
Wilson99
Conway01
Winter02
Conway07
Reed08


Sheet 1: Tsoi88

[Tsoi88]
Region Total population Transitioning/Transitioned Population Estimated Gender-Variant Population
MtF FtM Male-bodied Female-bodied
South Africa 47,900,000 5,506 1,924 no data no data
European Union 499,673,300 57,434 20,067 no data no data
United Kingdom 60,975,000 7,009 2,449 no data no data
Canada 33,558,000 3,857 1,348 no data no data
United States 305,831,000 35,153 12,282 no data no data
Australia 21,585,178 2,481 867 no data no data
China 1,321,851,888 151,937 53,086 no data no data
India 1,147,995,904 131,954 46,104 no data no data
The World 6,677,602,292 767,540 268,177 no data no data
Ratio to Total Population : 2,900 8,300


Sheet 2: Bakker93

[Bakker93]
Region Total population Transitioning/Transitioned Population Estimated Gender-Variant Population
MtF FtM Male-bodied Female-bodied
South Africa 47,900,000 1,342 525 no data no data
European Union 499,673,300 13,996 5,479 no data no data
United Kingdom 60,975,000 1,708 669 no data no data
Canada 33,558,000 940 368 no data no data
United States 305,831,000 8,567 3,353 no data no data
Australia 21,585,178 605 237 no data no data
China 1,321,851,888 37,027 14,494 no data no data
India 1,147,995,904 32,157 12,588 no data no data
The World 6,677,602,292 187,048 73,219 no data no data
Ratio to Total Population : 11,900 30,400


Sheet 3: Wilson99

[Wilson99]
Region Total population Transitioning/Transitioned Population Estimated Gender-Variant Population
MtF FtM Male-bodied Female-bodied
South Africa 47,900,000 2,090 522 no data no data
European Union 499,673,300 21,798 5,444 no data no data
United Kingdom 60,975,000 2,660 664 no data no data
Canada 33,558,000 1,464 366 no data no data
United States 305,831,000 13,342 3,332 no data no data
Australia 21,585,178 942 235 no data no data
China 1,321,851,888 57,665 14,403 no data no data
India 1,147,995,904 50,081 12,509 no data no data
The World 6,677,602,292 291,306 72,760 no data no data
Ratio to Total Population : 7,641 30,592


Sheet 4: Conway01

[Conway01]
Region Total population Transitioning/Transitioned Population Estimated Gender-Variant Population
MtF FtM Male-bodied Female-bodied
South Africa 47,900,000 6,387 2,555 31,933 12,773
European Union 499,673,300 66,623 26,649 333,116 133,246
United Kingdom 60,975,000 8,130 3,252 40,650 16,260
Canada 33,558,000 4,474 1,790 22,372 8,949
United States 305,831,000 40,777 16,311 203,887 81,555
Australia 21,585,178 2,878 1,151 14,390 5,756
China 1,321,851,888 176,247 70,499 881,235 352,494
India 1,147,995,904 153,066 61,226 765,331 306,132
The World 6,677,602,292 890,347 356,139 4,451,735 1,780,694
Ratio to Total Population : 2,500 6,250 500 1,250


Sheet 5: Winter02

[Winter02]
Region Total population Transitioning/Transitioned Population Estimated Gender-Variant Population
MtF FtM Male-bodied Female-bodied
South Africa 47,900,000 no data no data 95,609 38,244
European Union 499,673,300 no data no data 997,352 398,941
United Kingdom 60,975,000 no data no data 121,707 48,683
Canada 33,558,000 no data no data 66,982 26,793
United States 305,831,000 no data no data 610,441 244,176
Australia 21,585,178 no data no data 43,084 17,234
China 1,321,851,888 no data no data 2,638,427 1,055,371
India 1,147,995,904 no data no data 2,291,409 916,564
The World 6,677,602,292 no data no data 13,328,547 5,331,419
Ratio to Total Population : 167 418


Sheet 6: Conway07

[Conway07]
Region Total population Transitioning/Transitioned Population Estimated Gender-Variant Population
MtF FtM Male-bodied Female-bodied
South Africa 47,900,000 10,644 4,258 31,933 12,773
European Union 499,673,300 111,039 44,415 333,116 133,246
United Kingdom 60,975,000 13,550 5,420 40,650 16,260
Canada 33,558,000 7,457 2,983 22,372 8,949
United States 305,831,000 67,962 27,185 203,887 81,555
Australia 21,585,178 4,797 1,919 14,390 5,756
China 1,321,851,888 293,745 117,498 881,235 352,494
India 1,147,995,904 255,110 102,044 765,331 306,132
The World 6,677,602,292 1,483,912 593,565 4,451,735 1,780,694
Ratio to Total Population : 1,500 3,750 500 1,250


Sheet 7: Reed08

[Reed93]
Region Total population Transitioning/Transitioned Population Estimated Gender-Variant Population
MtF FtM Male-bodied Female-bodied
South Africa 47,900,000 5,365 1,341 153,526 38,381
European Union 499,673,300 55,967 13,992 1,601,517 400,379
United Kingdom 60,975,000 6,830 1,707 195,433 48,858
Canada 33,558,000 3,759 940 107,558 26,889
United States 305,831,000 34,255 8,564 980,228 245,057
Australia 21,585,178 2,418 604 69,183 17,296
China 1,321,851,888 148,057 37,014 4,236,705 1,059,176
India 1,147,995,904 128,584 32,146 3,679,474 919,869
The World 6,677,602,292 747,939 186,985 21,402,571 5,350,643
Ratio to Total Population : 2,976 11,904 104 416

I use OpenOffice, an Open-Source alternative to MS Office and other packages. Try it, it’s as good as other packages any day of the week, and you can download it for free! ^_^

Mina

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From Wired News …

[Brandon Keim] Beauty Affects Men’s and Women’s Brains Differently (23 feb 2009, Wired News)

Beauty is famously in the eye of the beholder; but it’s also in the beholder’s brain, and may work differently in the brains of men and women.

In men, images they consider to be beautiful appear to activate brain regions responsible for locating objects in absolute terms — x- and y-coordinates on a grid. Images considered beautiful by women do the same, but they also activate regions associated with relative location: above and behind, over and under. The difference could be the result of evolutionary pressures on our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

The findings, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are preliminary and based on a small number of people, but intriguing nonetheless.

continues…

Visit the “Causes of Gender-Variance, Transsexuality and Intersex” page for more on the biological and psychological differences between the sexes, in addition to more general studies on the origins and effects of gender-variance.

Mina.

In a post entitled “The Taliban of the GLB Movement” over at tgnonsense, Leigh Smith argues that transgender people are largely responsible for the backlash gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people are currently experiencing in the US and in some regions elsewhere in the world. She goes on to explain how they provide a huge big bullseye for a resurgent Religious Right to take aim at, and consequently elicit hatred and bigotry against everybody in the LGBT “community”.

I don’t think anybody can realistically disagree with her. Transgender people are indeed singularly visible, and to an ideology so rigidly conformist as religious conservatism, gender variance is like a huge big red flag.

But to blame the target makes no sense.

I’ve been watching the whole transgender vs. transsexual thing in the US for a couple of years now, reading blogs and articles and forum posts that sometimes get so nasty (from both sides), you expect nothing so much as bloody murder.

Once you look beyond “American” shores (always loved how you guys appropriated the entire continent in naming yourselves) it seems to become something of a non-issue. The “great divide” between transgender and transsexual nearly never even occurs to most people, and with obvious exceptions, gender-variance is accepted legally and medically, and for the most part tolerated. Way-out transgender people might be seen as odd or weird or “out-there”, but most people just go about their lives with a wry grin or a sneer and a shake of their heads on the rare occasions that they actually encounter one.

It only seems to be in the United States that acceptance of GLB and especially T has become no less than a battle for the very fate of all mankind, emphasis on the MAN.

And I suppose that’s a big part of it. America seems to need enemies, to be locked in a heroic struggle of good against evil. At least if you judge by how quick it is to name them. In the 50’s the big evil was the Communist Threat. Before that, “Japs” and Nazi sympathisers were undermining the very fabric of the United States. Not too long ago we had an “Axis of Evil” knocking on the door and today the Gay Agenda threatens no less than the destruction of America in righteous hell-fire and brimstone. And let us not forget the dark threat of Al Qaeda and “Islamic TERROR”…. which the US just so happens to have created, trained and funded way back when they were fighting the Commies.

Whatever the cause, those “enemies” breed fear, and fundamentalism thrives in that sort of environment. Add climate change and an economic collapse that spells uncertainty for all of us, and fundamentalists are going to look for scapegoats to blame their woes on. If transgender people didn’t exist it would be black people or women, both popular targets in the past, immigrants or just foreigners in general, or they would invent a new group to hate. Anything rather than to accept responsibility for their part in creating the circumstances we face in this world right now. And of course, you have to be the good-guy if you’re going to be fighting the Great Enemy.

I understand the urge to be normal, to sanitise ourselves and become as acceptable and palatable as possible, but no matter what we do, whether we are “true transsexuals” or screamingly genderqueer or just garden-variety gay, we’ll never conform closely enough to their idea of what a man or a woman is supposed to be. After all, most cisgender men and women don’t either. Indulging in a bit of scapegoating of our own won’t change that.

Religious fanaticism isn’t part of the problem, it is ALL of the problem. Ignorance at least can be reasoned with, most of the time, but fanaticism has to be opposed. Because as long as we’re all busy scratching one-another’s eyes out, with transgender accusing transsexual of being deluded in their binary identity, or transsexual accusing transgender of subsuming and subverting the plight of “true transsexuals”, or GLB really not wanting anything to do with either group ’cause they’re well, weird, the fanatics will be taking the United States away from everybody, and that influence will spread beyond its shores, as is the case with everything that happens in “America”.

Mina.

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Victoria, Australia’s Southern-most state, has seen an almost 100% increase in the number of boys being born according to an Aussie biotech magazine, with genital “abnormalities”, up from one in 230 only five years ago to one in 135 today.

The article goes on to explain how scientists are still uncertain as to how or why this is happening, but in the light of CHEMTrust’s damning report last year, which highlighted huge increases in numbers of intersex animals, I honestly don’t see how this is even still a question. This “biomass pollution” as I’ve come to call it is as a result of endocrine disrupting chemicals leeching into our environment from industrial processes and waste, plastics and other pollution. Bisphenol A, for example, which caused a huge stir last year because it leeches into milk and water from baby-bottles, is just one of hundreds of these compounds and hormone-mimicking chemicals.

We are not somehow immune to this stuff: If fish species and polar-bears and gemsbok and every other creature on this planet are being affected by this, OF COURSE we are too. One of the consequences described in that CHEMTrust report explains how more and more boys are being born with feminised genitalia or acting in a gender-variant or transsexual way, preferring activities and identifying much more with the female sex. And in the light of those findings, surely this is just more of the same? Our world is an interlinked system of systems, and what happens locally affects us globally as pollution, toxins and hormone-mimicking chemicals seep into the oceans, our ground-water and even dissipate into the air we breathe.

A summary of CHEMTrust’s findings are available here, sensationalistic title notwithstanding, and the full report from From Australian Life Scientist follows …

[Graeme O’Neill] Genetics and Disorders of Sex Development (19 feb 2009, Australian Life Scientist)

One in every 135 baby boys in Victoria is born with a form of genital abnormality, and the incidence is rising. The US and Europe are also witnessing a similar, alarming trend.

The reason for the rapid increase in the rate of genital abnormalities in male newborns is unknown, but may be due to exposure in utero to endocrine disruptors – molecules that affect the production of androgens at the critical time when the penis is forming.

continues…

I’ve added this report to my page on the Causes of Gender-Variance, Transsexuality and Intersex, and you can find links to many other case-studies and research reports there as well.

Mina.

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When the four of them rushed me, I honestly thought I was going to die. They were pushing and shoving and pulling all at once, demanding to know why I was there, How I’d gotten in, whether the bags were mine. They were drunk and aggressive and scary, and I thought I was dead.

The morning before I had finally left the backpacker’s, unable to continue paying rent. Between my previous landlady keeping my deposit and a month’s rent, my card being cloned and maxed, and the number of days my boss had been off sick the last few weeks (for which I didn’t get paid) I was done. I had about £20 in my purse, and not a penny in my account. After the disastrous swath Mars had cut in its transit through my sun-sign, I was tapped out and on the street. None of my friends were in a position to help me physically, and any financial help from afar would simply be too late. It’s scary how quickly things can compound and go horribly wrong. I could only hope that I had enough sense and guts to survive until my next pay cheque. I even entertained the notion of, if things went well, finding somewhere to squat my last couple of months in London, and at least clawing back some of my losses by not having to pay rent.

Turns out though that I have about as much sense and streetwise as what one might expect from any middle-class brat with no real experience of the really-real world. Not to mention that I am an absolute bloody idiot.

They shoved me upstairs, ignoring my entreaties that I had thought the house abandoned, that I hadn’t known they were occupying it, that I had not found their spot. I was quaking with fear – I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared. I glanced back and thought of pushing them down the stairs and making a run for it, but really, the only direction was up, and I could be running into something worse. Of course, that’s just the rationalisation of it that comes afterwards … to my shame, at the time I was simply too petrified to act.

We entered their room through a door that for all the world looked like just another boarded-up dead-end. Once upon a time the room had most likely been a lounge or something, but they had turned it into a large dorm with four bare mattresses arranged along the walls, a lamp of some kind off on a table in the corner, dimly lighting the room.

They surrounded me. The short, scary one with the burn scars on his face took the lead, shouting at me about me coming into his ‘flat’ and stealing his things, and that if they found anything missing, I was dead. That’s what I think he was getting at anyway – his English was really bad, and half the time I couldn’t make out a word of what he said.

I tried explaining over the shouts and shoving, quite frantic by now, about how my landlady had kicked me out and kept my money, and that I was consequently on the streets. I had honestly just stumbled onto the house by accident, I pleaded. The ground floor was a mess of fallen beams and corrugated sheeting and boarded windows, and having tried and failed to get into the first floor, I had thought it unoccupied.

Eventually, whether they actually realised what I had been saying and took pity on me, or just wanted to wait till morning to decide what to do with me, they pushed me up another flight of stairs to the second floor, where there was a single, cleared-out room with a grimy little inch-thin mattress on the floor. Tears were flowing freely by now, (thank Goddess they only had candles) but I had enough sense left to introduce myself and shake their hands, and to start thanking them profusely for letting me stay … you know what they say about killing (and eating) something whose name you know … Not that I thought they were cannibals, but still, the vegetarian thing seemed to apply. I dropped my bags pointedly in the corner.

They listened for a few minutes before Slava disappeared back through the door, only to return with a blanket, which he shoved unceremoniously at me.

“You sleep!” He insisted in broken English. The other one was still scary as hell, but Slava seemed to have realised that I was just a sheeple in over her head. Way over, and that I was no risk to them. They left a moment later, deep in rapid conversation in what I could only guess was Polish, but who knows. I closed the door, watching them disappear down the stairs through a huge hole somebody had punched or hacked through the centre of it.

They turned the corner, and I lost it entirely.

I was panicking, literally pacing around like a caged animal. I was convinced that I was going to die there. In hindsight that fear was most likely totally unfounded, and for all I know they had really, genuinely decided to just give me a place to sleep. But in my mind they were already dividing my stuff up between them while contemplating whether to use cement boots or sell me to a pork-pie factory instead.

Slava returned with a pillow, shoving the door open as I choked back my hysterics. Pushing the pillow into my hands, he turned again and left without a word, pointedly pushing the door open wider as he left.
I had to get out.

I tried to meditate for a bit, just to calm down, but my thoughts were so jumbled up that I might as well have been chasing ghosts. After a while though I did calm. The moon was full that night, and few things soothe like that does.

There were two wooden windows, one welded shut in its frame by years of exposure. The other had been broken open though, and covered with a dirty sheet serving as a curtain. I peeked out, listening intently for any change in the boozy conversation from downstairs. The road was horribly busy, especially considering that it was past midnight on a Sunday … well, Monday morning, not to mention the ratty apartment building across the road. I’d never get out without being spotted, and there was no way I could survive cops getting involved. I wanted with all my heart to just leap out that window, to escape, but I would have to wait.

By three the lights across the way had finally all been switched off, and traffic had dribbled to circulating taxis and cop-cars every now and again. Most importantly though, the conversation from downstairs had finally gone quiet.

I tried to go out the window with my stuff on my back, but it was fairly obvious that that was a sure ticket to a messy end. I struggled awkwardly back in, tumbling arse-over-head through the window. I leapt under the blanket and prayed that that they had not heard. After a minute or two, with nobody rushing up the stairs, I sat up and rethought my plan.

After a moment or two, I dug out my stretching belt and tried lowering the bags down to the ledge on the first floor, but I wasn’t going to make it, and if they slipped, my meds, my phone, all my stuff might be damaged. Worse, it might wake the neighbours. So I hauled it all back in. Damnit…

The blanket!!!

I knotted the stretching belt to the blanket’s corner and tried again. Too short to reach the ground, but only by about a meter or so, so I decided to chance it and let go. I had to get out.

I crawled gingerly out the window, my heart in my throat. A car approached and I flattened myself against the wall, hoping my stuff would be safe down below. As it passed, I started inching my foot along the ledge, my hands locked onto the wormy frame with vice-like grip, I reached out with my left foot, full stretch barely reaching the big wrought-iron lamp-fitting. There had been a fire in the building’s past, and I just hoped and prayed the fitting was still secure. I inched out with my left hand and barely snagged the diagonal, slowly managed to work my way out onto the fitting, and … I was stuck. I could not go any further. Suddenly it seemed like I was miles up.

I was frozen, numb with fear. to get down, I would have to swing out from my perch, but it seemed like every bone in my body had turned to jelly. Nor could I think that the bracket would hold my weight. At that point the four roll-bolts in the wall seemed like thumb-tacks. The reach to the ledge down below was just too far, and I am neither Lara Croft nor Jason Bourne. And going back was equally terrifying. Looking back up at that window, it seemed impossible to get back.

A car approached, and resignedly I started calling out quietly for help. Gods let the driver’s window be down. No such luck. It seemed that the only help I would be getting would be from my captors, and that I could do without.

I took a few deep breaths to calm down after calling out quietly a few more times. If I tried to go down, I’d die for sure. But I’d made it from the window, so I could make it back. I had to.

Hours later, or what seemed it anyway, I tumbled arse-over-head back in through the window.

My stuff was down below, and at some point somebody would take it. Yet going out the window was beyond me. I needed to figure something out, but the only option left to me really, was to try and sneak past down the stairs.

I eased my way down, testing every step as I went. It was pitch-black dark, but the Goddess shone down outside, seeming to work a bit of magick as the old steps remained solid and quiet.

I inched my way around the corner to find their door closed, and I continued my way down with a quiet sigh of relief.

I reached the ground-floor and was about to make my way to the boarded-up little window I had come in through when I heard a loud squeak, followed by light and somebody entering. I froze. There was absolutely nowhere to go, no place to hide, and I was sure this would be it.

He walked right past me, his steps passing right over my leading foot. I looked right at him, but he did not even register me being there, didn’t even so much as blink. Need. That’s all I can think of. Need.

As I heard the door close above I breathed again and stumbled out through the door, gathering my stuff quickly. I balled the blanket up and dropped it just inside their make-shift door before walking away as quickly as I could without running.

I made my way to Liverpool Street so I could get dressed for work.

***

This was originally a post at a forum I frequent shortly after the events described here, which occurred somewhere in the middle of May 2008. I had had a run of bad luck over the preceding week culminating in my landlady finding out I was trans and giving me a day to leave, and I just had no options and resources. I was stuck in a foreign city with nobody to turn to and just starting my transition.

I’d been in nasty situations before, but never like … any with meaning. I’ve been afraid, but I never had much to lose. The fear was nothing but animal instinct, I suppose. But now … this was the first time since my childhood that I was really, really scared, that I wanted with all my heart to live. I was finally transitioning, finally clawing my way towards life. And paradoxically, it seems, that desire almost cost me. Stuck on that wall before, I would’ve just done it – taken the chance and let the chips fall as they will. But now – I just couldn’t. I had too much to lose.

Mina.

I have on occasion been accused of a slight case of paranoia. I’ve even been called a “chicken little” once or twice in my life. Now this is understandable, since my particular way of dealing with dysphoria before I came out was to latch onto anything that might change the world FOR me. Pole Shift? Oh I’m there! Apocalyptic Alignment of Planets. Bring it on! I ran off into the wilderness no more than three times, intent to find solitude amongst the beasts, the birds and … well, you get the idea. I was nuts.

However.

It did leave me with a very well-developed sense of “Things are going pear-shaped here”, and it’s true what they say: Someday the sky really is gonna fall. So with climate change looming and peak oil knocking on the door and collapsing economies all over the place, my thoughts turn once again to the single most important consideration on the planet: WHAT ABOUT MY HORMONES?!?!

Call it paranoia, but I have sleepless nights thinking about the drug companies folding or distribution channels collapsing or, or, or, and until I have some kind of alternative I can fixate on, this is going to keep happening.

Now, I’ve read up on herbals, and they’re kinda … iffy, it would seem, though I’d love to be corrected. The more serious idea I’ve been toying with is, well, why not just make my own? I mean, they synthesise Oestrogen and Progesterone from soya and yams! I don’t know about Testosterone, but I’m sure that’s synthesised from, well something too! How hard could it be?! I mean, if a compounding pharmacist can do it, why not me! …

Ah Mina, shoulda stayed in that advanced biochem class huh?

So, let’s put the hypothetical out there, put yourself in my paranoid-delusional shoes for a moment and consider how you would deal if the HRT dried up? There’s a wiiiiide open comments section down below ladies, gentlemen and others. Please fill it.

Oooooh. Better yet. Any chemist/botanists out there who’d like to undertake a wee project? (^_^)

Mina.

When I began to look for information on gender variance, one of the main things for me, apart from finding out why I was the way I was, was to find out how many other people out there were like me.

I soon found that there were just no clear-cut answers around. Different sources quoted different numbers, and the disagreements about those statistics were often ugly. So I started digging, determined to find every report I could, read them all, and hopefully get some kind of indicator more or less approaching reality. Yeah, I’m a sucker for punishment. ^_^

What I’ve come up with is this list, basically, a link to every report, news-article and discussion I’ve read around the matter, and while the reality of things isn’t much clearer, the numbers do point at startling conclusions.

Depending on who you read, anywhere from one in every 2,500 to one in every 100 people who were assigned male at birth are actually transsexual. One in a hundred, and that’s a report from 2008. Female to Male transsexual people are less common, but the statistics are similarly startling, with that same 2008 report estimating numbers as high as one in every 416 assigned females being trans.

As I say though, there’s alot of controversy around the subject, and so I think it’s probably better that I just present you with all the same studies I’ve read, and let you make up your own mind. I’ve also duplicated this post as a static page which I’m continually updating with new information as it becomes available. If you’re reading this post a while since publication, there may well be more up to date information there, so check it out.

I’ve decided to list publications and events as they’ve occurred, with investigations listed chronologically down the page. Thus the latest items may be found at the bottom of the page, with the older ones listed at the top. Hopefully this will provide an understanding, not only of the findings themselves, but also place them into context and give an idea of why such controversy exists around the issue. For convenience, I’ve also included a short summary of findings for each resource listed.

If you happen across resources that I’ve not listed, please do tell. You can either post about it as a comment or send me an email and I’ll include it.

Notes on Populations

  1. Overall population statistics are assumed to be a 50% split between assigned male and assigned female.
  2. Adult population aged 18-60 is estimated at two thirds of total population, 67%.
  3. You’ll notice that most of these studies focus exclusively on Male-to-Female (MtF) transsexual people, specifically post-op. This is done mainly because it’s easy – you can point to a definite, irreversable change and obtain statistical data from surgeons fairly easily. Obviously this precludes gender-variant people who can’t have surgery due to financial or health restrictions, or who do not entirely identify as transsexual.
  4. Reliable statistics for the Female-to-Male (FtM) population are much harder to come by as phalloplasty is a much more expensive, dangerous and generally unsuccessful procedure than vaginoplasty. Consequently, many transmen opt not to have surgery, and so never become part of a fairly easily counted population. Historically the ratio has been about one FtM individual for every 2.5 MtF people. Where there’s no data I’ve used this ratio to extrapolate numbers for comparison.
  5. These statistics tend to assume that the majority of the population will have access to information about transsexuality as well as the means to medically transition, since they are based on research in developed countries such as the Netherlands and the United States. The reality in less developed countries is unlikely to correspond to these models. Populations are more likely to be ignorant of the realities or even existence of gender variance, not to mention have little chances of ever having the resources to transition.

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[Tsoi] The prevalence of transsexualism in Singapore (1988, archived at Lynn Conway’s Website)

In 1988 Professor W.F. Tsoi, Head of the Department of Medicine at the National University of Singapore published a report containing an estimation of the number of transsexual people in Singapore, determined by counting the number of people in Singapore seeking sex-reassignment surgery and consequently diagnosed as being transsexual. The study found a ratio of one in 2,900 for male-assigned transsexual people and one in 8,300 for female assigned individuals.

[Bakker, Kesteren et al] The Prevalence of Transsexualism in the Netherlands (1993, archived at Lynn Conway’s Website)

In 1993, A. Bakker and his team published a study on the prevalence of transsexualism in the Netherlands, reporting ratios of one in 11,900 males and one in 30,400 females. Treatment and research of transsexual people in the Netherlands is quite advanced compared to the rest of the world, and these statistics were gathered by the endocrinology department at the Free University Hospital in Amsterdam.

These numbers were reported with a very important caveat attached to them though, one which seems to subsequently have been ignored or forgotten by many:

The prevalence of transsexualism in the Netherlands was estimated by cou nting all the subjects who were diagnosed as transsexuals by psychiatrists or psychologists and were subsequently hormonally treated and generally underwent sex-reassignment surgery.

As clearly stated, only those gender variant people who actually went on to transition formed part of the final report. Androgyne or Neutrois individuals, along with those who could not have surgery for whatever reason were simply not counted at all.

[Wilson et al] The Prevalence of Gender Dysphoria in Scotland, A Primary Care Study (1999, IngentaConnect)

Based on a questionaire sent out to senior partners at general practices in Scotland, it was found that 8.18 in every 100,000 patients suffered from gender dysphoria. This equated to a MtF ratio of one in 7,641, and a FtM ratio of about one in 30,562. However, the report goes on to state the following:

One-third of gender-dysphoric patients known to practices had registered in the preceding 12 months, suggesting that patients with this condition are increasingly likely to present for medical care.

Clearly showing that the final results couldn’t be regarded as an overall population. Either the number of transsexual individuals in Scotland were increasing exponentially, which is unlikely, or more likely many gender variant people are simply not seeking treatment, whether out of fear or ignorance, indicating that the gender variance is vastly underreported.

[Meyer et al] WPATH Standards of Care, Version 6 (2001, wpath.org)

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), formerly The Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA) lists official numbers of one in 11,900 males and one in 30,400 females, based on findings on [Bakker93]. It does however point out that these numbers may be considerably higher. From page two:

The earliest estimates of prevalence for transsexualism in adults were 1 in 37,000 males and 1 in 107,000 females. The most recent prevalence information from the Netherlands for the transsexual end of the gender identity disorder spectrum is one in 11,900 males and one in 30,400 females. Four observations, not yet firmly supported by systematic study, increase the likelihood of an even higher prevalence.

[Conway] How frequently does Transsexualism occur? (2001, www.lynnconway.com)

In January of 2001 Lynn Conway published a report detailing her research into the true numbers of transsexual women in the United States. Her approach was simply to count the number of post-op US MtF citizens and divide that number by the total number of adult assigned males for a ratio. Her results were startling, to say the least: one in ever 2,500 assigned males between 18 and 60 have had SRS, for a total population of between 32-and-40,000 people. Considering the financial and procedural obstacles gender-variant people face in obtaining treatment, she estimated the number of untreated individuals to be between three and five times that number, for a lower margin of one in 500 assigned males.

Extrapolating these same findings for FtM people, you’d be left with a ratio of about one in 1,250 assigned females. I’ve not calculated a ratio for post-ops as it would be a fairly meaningless statistic for the reasons listed under Notes on Populations above.

[Kelly] Estimation of Prevalence of Transsexualism in the UK (2001, www.lynnconway.com)

Donna Kelley duplicated Professor Conway’s method in the same year of 2001 and counted the number of male-assigned UK citizens who had completed SRS either in the UK or abroad. She ended up with a ratio of 1 in 3,750 individuals. She surmised that the lower incidence was probably due in large part to the relative ease with which US citizens could access competent SRS surgeons, many of whom are resident either in the US or Canada. By contrast, transsexual people from the UK and other parts of the world typically have to fly either to North America or to Thailand for surgery.

[Winter] Counting Kathoey (2002, TransgenderASIA)

In 2002, Sam Winter, an academic at Hong Kong university did an informal study on the number of transgender people, “kathoey” in the Thai language. Using kathoey assistants as “spotters”, Mr. Winter simply counted the number of passers-by in various locations, and had his assistants count the number of kathoey who happened by. They found a remarkable number of 3 in every 1,000 people, a ratio of one in every 167 assigned males.

Incidentally, Mr. Winter cites an estimate made by Richard Ehrlich in 1996 of 10,000 kathoey in Thailand. These include post-op, pre-op and non-op, and is a total population for male-assigned gender variant people. With a population of roughly 58.9 million in 1666, that equates to 1 in 1,963 assigned males. Mr. Winter regards this a conservative opinion, citing some estimates of up to 300,000.

[Conway and Olyslager] On the Calculation of the Prevalence of Transsexualism (2007, archived at Lynn Conway’s Website)

After having little success in convincing the medical and psychiatric establishment of her findings, Professor Conway followed up on her 2001 report with a presentation in 2007 at WPATH’s annual symposium. Co-authored with Femke Olyslager, the report presented a thorough reevaluation of past studies, including those by Bakker in 1993 and Tsoi in 88, along with Professor Conway’s own findings and that of other individuals within the gender-variant community. From page one, Abstract:

From this reanalysis of those early reports, we determine lower-bounds on the prevalence of the underlying condition of transsexualism to be between 1:1000 and 1:2000, using those reports own data. We then present more recent incidence data and alternative methods for estimating the prevalence of transsexualism, all of which indicate that the lower bound on the prevalence of transsexualism is at least 1:500, and possibly higher.

Echoing Professor Conway’s earlier research, this report was later published in the Dutch journal, “Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies”.

[Reed et al] Gender Dysphoria, Transsexualism and Transgenderism: Incidence, Prevalence and Growth in the UK (sep 2008, Gender Identity Research and Education Society (Gires))

In a presentation at the LGBT Health Summit in Bristol (UK) in 2008, Gires estimed prevalence of 21 individuals per 100,000, with a ratio of 4 MtF for ever FtM, based on [Wilson99]. This leads to ratios of one in 2,976 for MtF transwomen and one in 11,905 for FtM transmen, consistant with Lynn Conway’s findings in 2001.

However, the report goes on to state that prevalence might be as high as 600 individuals per 100,000. Applying the same ratio of ratio of 4 MtF for ever FtM individuals, that equates to estimates of one in 104 assigned males and one in 416 assigned females.

The report also finds that the population may be growing by as much as 12% per annum

The full presentation may be viewed here.

[Conway] Falsification of GID prevalence by the APA (2008, Lynn Conway’s Website)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, currently undergoing its fifth revision (slated for publication in 2012), is considered the “Bible of Psychiatry”. It is used by doctors and mental health professionals in their diagnosis and treatment of gender variant people, and by insurance companies and publically funded healthcare in determining whether gender variant people should be covered or not. The inclusion of Gender Identity Disorder in the DSM, starting with revision 3, has also been responsible in large part for securing what legal rights gender variant people enjoy.

Owing to the potential impact this document might have on the lives of gender-variant people, Professor Conway and other activists are currently contesting the matter of prevalence very strongly with the APA Task Force responsible for the DSM’s revision. Sadly this fight has turned nasty at times, as detailed at the main link.

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Mina.