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Posts from the ‘transgender’ Category

Book review: Letters For My Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect

Letters For My Brothers

Edited by Megan M. Rohrer & Zander Keig. 2010 Wilgefortis. Kindle Edition.

With writing by: Jamison Green, fAe Gibson, Cristopher Bautista, Chase Ryan Joynt, Malcolm Himschoot ,Lou Sullivan,  Reid Vanderburgh, Aaron Raz Link, Elliott Anthony Brooker, Aaron H Devor, Patrick M Callahan , Zander Keig, C.T. Whitley, Raven Kaldera, Tucker Lieberman, Lyle Blake, Keith Josephson,  Evan Anderson and Matt Kailey.

The book provides the newly-transitioning man with the wisdom of nineteen older brothers who have traveled the road before and offer their views, advice and thoughts on the trip.   As one of the editors – Megan Roher notes in the introduction to this Kindle book “Transmen, who rely solely on online materials to learn about transition, miss out on the wisdom that can only be found in a mentorship experience.”

The short, to the point chapters are a refreshingly devoid of artifice.  The standouts (for me) are Christopher Bautista’s essay which expresses the powerful impact of acceptance:

 …reading that little piece of paper was the most terrifying thing I had ever done. But the entire class of a hundred something people, all of them, started clapping for me. All of that previous frustration from the quarter melted away. I had made my declaration to the class, and they had accepted me. I had never thought this would happen. I no longer had to pour so much effort into trying to pass as a guy, to dress like one, act like one, talk like one, like I had to do in the outside world. My class was fine with who I was, awkwardness and all. And for the first time that quarter and in my whole life, I felt like I belonged somewhere. It felt like home.

Chase Ryan Joynt’s essay expresses doubt and uncertainty about what type of man he should be and will be.

…I struggled for a long time with the various versions of masculinity that were represented in my community. Upon reflection I think that I subconsciously attempted to fit myself into the versions of trans that I thought were acceptable and available…

Reid Vanderburgh gives clear advise and reassurance on various tricky points in transition, such as:

Let yourself feel lonely. You’re losing your lesbian community, and you don’t yet have community to replace it. That’s okay. You didn’t fit that identity, and now that you know it, you really can’t stay. Know that in the future, your individual lesbian friends are still going to be there, but it’s not going to be the same.

Aaron H Devor, an academic writes particularity well on discoveries about male privilege:

…everything I say now sounds more authoritative, or more ominous, or both. Sometimes that works in my favour. Sometimes, especially with women, that evokes fear, resentment, or hostility. I think that I’m just making a plain statement. They see and hear me throwing my weight around. I get tense and may raise my voice a bit in anger because I’m hurting. They perceive me as being scary and abusive.

There are more examples, but I recommend getting the book!

On the down side the writing was uneven, as can be expected in a group project and there was some subtle anger towards male to female trans folk:  “…I have quit working at [].. Felt I was wasting my time on all those male-to-females.” and  “In hindsight, not being in that group was one of the best things that could have happened to me, as it was led by a domineering transwoman who had a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude about how transition was supposed to work.”

However, that aside, there’s a lot of wisdom, comfort and inspiration to be found in these pages and any newly transitioning trans-man will want to read them at least once if not more and hopefully will also be inspired to go out and find some real-live brothers to connect with.

A Q&A with the Mother of a 5 year old trans-boy from the Washington Post

Here’s a link to a most interesting and forthright question and answer session with the Mother of a five year old trans-boy appearing in the ‘Washington Post’ on May 21, 2012.

The original story is here.

The Prevalence of Transgenderism – an update.

I offered some information about prevalence in a previous post.  I am re-posting those studies here with the addition of some new studies, filling in some omissions, adding links where available and adding some new thoughts.

These are studies that observed at least the year 1990 to the present and where prevalence estimates where made.  Sorted by the last year of the study (not the publication year).

(Note: N =number of people in the study, MtF = Male to Female, FtM=Female to Male, Prevalence should be read as ‘one in 42,000’)

Author Period Reported Country Incusion   Criteria    N MtF :  FtM Prevalence
Weitze & Osburg (1996) 1981-1990 Germany Granted legal change of name or gender status 1047 2.3  :1 MtF:1 : 42,000  FtM:1 : 104,000
Bakker, van Kesteren, Gooren, & Bezemer (1993) 1986-1990 Netherlands Receiving hormone therapy 713 2.5 :1 MtF:1 : 11,900  FtM:1 : 30,400
Wilson, Sharp, & Carr (1999) circa 1998 Scotland Gender Dysphoria 273 4 : 1 MtF:1 : 7,400    FtM:1 : 31,200
Wilson, Sharp, & Carr (1999) circa 1998 Scotland Receiving Hormone therapy or post-surgery 160 3.8 :1 MtF:1 : 12,800  FtM:1 : 52,100
Horton, M.A. (2008) 2001 USA based on survey of surgeons who performed SRS  2:1 MtF:1 : 750       FtM:1 : 1,400
Conway, L. (2001) 2001 USA based on estimates of the numbers of sex reassignment surgeries MtF:1 : 1500* the estimate was between 1 in 250 to 1 in 2500
De Cuypere et al. (2007) 1985-2003 Belgium Completed sex reassignment surgery 412 2.4  :1 MtF:1  : 12,900    FtM:1  : 33,800
Gomez Gil et al. (2006) 1996-2004 Spain Diagnosis of Transsexualsism 161 2.6  :1 MtF:  1 : 21,000    FtM:  1:  48,100
Reed, et al (GIRES) (2009) 2007 (also see 2011 update here) United Kingdon people who sought tx for gender variance MtF: 1 : 10,000
Veale, J. (2008) 2008 New Zealand people who changed gender markers on New Zealand passport 385 MtF: 1 : 3639        FtM: 1: 22,714
Conron, K.J,  et. al (2011) 2010 USA – Mass phone survey of housholds in MA  28000 MtF: 1 : 200  * survey did not distinguish between MtF or FtM

A few points

  • The Male to Female numbers are much more reliable than the Female to male numbers at this point.  Many researchers argue that FtM transgender individuals can live more easily with male gender expression and may present for treatment less.
  • The incidents of gender variance being reported are more or less increasing over time (see the graph below).  Some researchers have noted that reported incidents are higher in cities and in more tolerant cultures.
  • Gender Variance is extremelty hard to count due to individuals remaining hidden or choosing not to seek any type of treatment because of stigma.
 Example – to read the graph below: Horton finds the prevalence of Male to Female transgender to be one in 750 people.
Chart of MtF transgender prevalence

Chart of MtF transgender prevalence



Some new data – not worked into the chart yet:

Find out about Psychotherapy when dealing with Gender variance in yourself or someone close to you.


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