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Posts from the ‘transgender’ Category

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 transgendered 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

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

An example of Trans-Phobia in Society

I’d written previously about internalized-trans-phobia and noted that one reason why this happens is that “trans-folk have been … misunderstood and the object of derision”.  The following is unfortunately a good example of this.

(This was taken at a June 27, 2011 press conference with Presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum)

…I was with a couple this weekend who live in Vermont, and they have a similar situation up in Vermont… and their second grader has to come home and deal with Transgender Children, who are talking about Transgender Issues in second grade.  These are things that are going to have a profound impact on children… when children are going to be forced to be taught about all of these issues that come with the implementation of gay marriage…it’s going to have a devastating impact on our children.  It’s going to have a devastating impact on families and it’s going to have a profound impact on religious liberties….

That’s one powerful little second-grader… destabilizing religion in America. (does this mean she doesn’t have to do her homework?)

Putting aside for a moment Senator Santorum’s obfuscation of the issues of Gay Marriage and Transgender Children, the Senator as a respected member of society, is transmitting with his words and even more with his tone, the idea that transgender children are ‘less than’, ‘other’ and objects worthy of derision and ridicule.  He is incredulous that a “normal” second-grader would have to associate and learn about his or her gender variant class-mate.

I would say that the Senator gets to be the poster-child for hate this week and can now consider himself to be a contributor to trans-phobia.

On Regret of Gender Transition

There are some people who undergo a gender transition (either fully or to some extent) and then regret having done so and “de-transition”.  This post attempts to explore this phenomenon.

Some reasons why this might occur include:

  •  The person is not transsexual.  The person may have found by going through their transition that they are not in fact comfortable living in the other gender and that they feel either gender queer or more closely aligned with the natal gender.  Certainly instances of transitions involving surgery might have been prevented if there were a greater attempt to determine this beforehand; however, just like with non-trans issues, we often go ahead with things we think are right for us only to discover that they aren’t.  Sometimes the discovery just isn’t possible without trying it out.  The ‘real life experience’ (see WPATH’s standards of care) is an attempt to systematize this discovery process before any major surgeries.
  • Regardless of whether the person is truly transsexual or not, it’s possible that because of having lived so long with gender dysphoria and accompanying social and physical dissatisfaction, one may think of a full gender transition as a magical ticket to happiness.  I have seen this (sometimes unconscious) wish accompanied by other unrealistic expectations such as:  the idea that one will have a social community, better social skills, be more popular, etc.  When this turns out not to be true, there can be confusion and uncertainty that tends to focus on one’s gender transition.  It may be that the gender transition was in the person’s best interest, yet other causes of unhappiness and personal problems had not been sufficiently explored and worked through.  Sometimes with gender variant people, work on other problems are delayed because the gender issues tend to take precedence.
  • The person encountered too many problems with transition (i.e. dissatisfaction with their post-transition life).  These problems could include lack of family support, loss of partner, problems with transition in the workplace, disappointment with the outcome of surgery and problems “passing” as the new gender.  Additionally, transitioning is hard.  There are many hoops to jump through and one enters into a group of discriminated against people.  This can be exceedingly disconcerting for some.

Levels of regret

Certainly a person who has made a gender transition can have certain regrets that are not extreme enough to cause them to wish to de-transition.  The WPATH Standards of Care notes that “cases are known of persons who have received hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery who later regretted their inability to parent genetically related children”.  Other less extreme regrets can involve loss of certain benefits of privileges commonly associated with one gender or another.

Some research on regret:

Pfafflin F., Junge A. (1992) Sex Reassignment: 30 Years of International Follow-up Studies after SRS: A Comprehensive Review, 1961-1991 [publication online]. Translated from German  into American English by Roberta B. Jacobson and Alf B. Meier. IJT Electronic Books.

This study looked at 70 previous studies and reviews on outcomes following sex reassignment surgery.  These included 2000 individuals from 1961 to 1991.  This doesn’t take into account individuals who transition without surgery.  About 70% of MTF individuals were satisfied and 90% of FTM individuals.

Krege S., Bex A., Lummen G., et al. (2001). Male-to-female transsexualism: a technique, results and long-term follow-up in 66 patients. BJU International. 88:396-402.

 This study shows little or no regrets possibly due to surgical advances.

Find out about Psychotherapy when dealing with Gender variance in yourself or someone close to you. email: info@amikaplan.net

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