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Posts tagged ‘prevalence’

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.

The Prevalence of Transgenderism

Someone asked me recently “what is the prevalence of transgenderism”, so I thought I’d take a stab at finding out.

An article on questions of prevalence and epidemiology of GID appears in the International Journal of Transgenderism in its special issue: “Toward Version 7 of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care” (Volume 11, number 1, 2009).  The article was written by Kenneth Zucker and Anne Lawrence, and was summarized by Eli Coleman in his introduction to the special issue:

Formal epidemiological studies on gender identity disorder in children, adolescents, and adults are still lacking and no strong conclusion about its prevalence or incidence can be drawn. The current prevalence estimates that are cited in the DSM-IV and the WPATH SOC(1) are based upon data over 20 years old.  They [Zucker and Lawrence] note, however, that between the 1960’s and 1990’s, there appears to be at least a threefold increase (and as high as eightfold increase) in patients presenting to clinics in Western Europe.  This could be due to increased awareness and seeking of transgender services.  There is also the problem of whom to count.  Individuals who undergo surgical sex reassignment are only an extreme end-point of a continuum of cross-gender identification. We are more and more aware of the myriad of individuals who identify as transgender or gender queer and who represent individuals along the broad spectrum of cross-gender identification.”(p. 5)

This is from the Zucker, Lawrence article itself:

“As is the case with children and adolescents, there are also no formal epidemiological studies on GID in adults. The most common indirect method that has been used to gauge the prevalence of GID in adults has been to rely on the number of persons who attend specialty hospital and university-based clinics serving as gateways for surgical and hormonal sex reassignment.”  (p. 13)

They then present a table of data from 25 such clinics and try and estimate prevalence.   I’m listing 7 lines from their table (of 25) where the period reported falls somewhere between the year 1990 and the present and where prevalence estimates where made:

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
De Cuypere et al. (2007) 1985-2003 Belgium Completed sex reassignment surgery 412 2.4  :1 MtF:1  : 12,900 FtM:1  : 33,800
Bakker, van Kesteren, Gooren, & Bezemer (1993) 1986-1990 Netherlands Receiving hormone therapy 713 2.5  :1 MtF:1 : 11,900 FtM:1 : 30,400
Gomez Gil et al. (2006) 1996-2004 Spain Diagnosis of Transsexualsism 161 2.6  :1 MtF:  1 : 21,000 FtM:  1:  48,100
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

To summarize

  • There are some estimates based on indirect methods and counting those seeking treatment specifically some form of surgery & we know that this is a small percentage of overall people with gender variance.
  • no direct studies on prevalence of GID have been done
  • doing an accurate count is complicated by the fact that those counted are those who are “out” as being transgendered and seeking some form of treatment, and also those who have transitioned may not wish to be counted.

Also – this is a subject very much on the minds of researches in the field now (its been a lively topic of conversation on the WPATH email list for several months).

(1)    – prevalence cited in DSM-IV:  “Data from smaller countries in Europe with access to total population statistics and referrals suggest that roughly 1 per 30,000 adult males and 1 per  100,000 adult females seek sex-reassignment surgery.” (p. 535).  This data was probably drawn from Hoenig and Kenna (1974) “The prevalence of transsexualism in England and Wales, British Journal of Psychiatry, 124, 181-190.  And we know that only a fraction of transgendered individuals actually seek sexual reassignment surgery.
 

an update to this post can be found here
Find out about Psychotherapy when dealing with Gender variance in yourself or someone close to you.

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