Prevalence in the U.S.

Jenna Ware and Jack Norris at a Hangar Party
Jenna Ware and Jack Norris, Voyager World Flight, aerospace engineer, friend of Joe’s.

How many trans persons are there in the United States?

Are trans people more common than we think? Or are we a fraction so tiny, we can barely reach the calculator? My best-guess figures are at the end.
(3) MY PREVALENCE GUESSWORK—Working With the Numbers:


Nobody knows. We can’t even agree on what transgenderism and transsexualism are, let alone where to set parameters for determination. I will give some estimates and reasons for my numbers below—but first, there is some guess work that’s been offered by others for numbers in the United States. NOTE: These estimations all relate to their method and the year. Trans people have been coming out at a faster rate.

The Williams Institute, UCLA Law, estimated as of June 2016: 1.4 million for all trans people in the U.S.  (The Williams Institute, UCLA Law, also estimates in 2014 that 15,500 trans people are in the U.S. military.)

The National Institute of Health estimated, through 2016 “…almost 1 million adults” for all trans people.

Personally, I think these numbers are low for transgenderism (also neutrois, fluid, agender…). Because they have been coming out more in recent years, I tend to rather double or triple the figures.

In looking at prevalence, definitions and parameters matter, and because definitions of what transsexualism even is and because transsexualism is usually conflated with transgenderism, prevalence data is impossible to discern. Some people (including me) argue that transsexualism is not a subset of transgenderism, that sex and gender are different things. If medical science were able and if trans people were open with the truth of our sexualitiy, it would be clear that the need to be the other biological sex is different from needing to be somewhere on a gender continuum but not the other biological sex. Nonetheless, and realizing other researchers, groups, organizations, and nationalities vary on their terms and definitions, I’ll share the paper of Conway and Olyslager in 2007 for prevalence of transsexualism: Walinder in 1968 found 1:37,000 to 1:103,000; Hoenig in 1974 1:34,000; Elklund in 1988 1:18,000-1:200,000; Bakker in 1993 1:11,900-1:30,400; and Conway and Olyslager reported a mathematical extrapolation in 2007 suggesting 1:500-ish.



• There is no way to know what is in a person’s mind, nor even usually in the body.
• Numbers of this or that depend on DEFINITIONS, which are argued incessantly. There are arguments about what is transsexual vs. transgender, whether they’re separate phenomena or not. What if they live continuously as the other gender but don’t take hormones? What about hormones taken, but not living openly as the other gender? Partially on both? Are cross dressers to be considered “transgender”? They are not trying to change sex, but they do engage in the social expression of the “other” gender…
• What are PARAMETERS of groups in which people are counted? Everyone sets their own and are arbitrary. Setting one group of parameters can easily double the figure obtained, or half it.
• What is “transsexual”? Full gender change with SRS to the other binary physical sex? Full gender change but no attempt to change physical sex, only breast augmentation as “Gender Confirmation Surgery.” What if sex change is truly needed but can’t be obtained? What if desired, but doesn’t want to be “sterilized” to be accepted as the other sex…? What if a trans woman has an orchiectomy (removal of testes) yet retains a penis? What if someone has a historectomy, vaginectomy, clitoral release, has urethra re-routed to urinate standing, yet does not want testicular implants or phalloplasty? What about a metoidioplasty?
• People GO OUTSIDE THE U.S. FOR SURGERY, and then may MOVE. Estimates of surgeon output are weak at best.
• Trans PEOPLE OFTEN DISTORT their mental or physical nature or status, personal issues may be denied or changed, usually for social acceptability, to avoid stigma, fear of rejection. It is no small issue, sex or gender transition. We’re unwanted minorities and much smaller than those of race or even sex orientation (gay), with little social support—and then, when social support is given, it is often for one group over another.
• What is the difference between sex and gender? We even argue over something as basic as that. One person’s view is change in gender includes physical sex; another person’s view is it does not.
• SURVEYS ARE INVALID. I’ve referred to some, now and then, too, as an idea of what may exist and to suggest others are working on this, but in reality, designing a valid survey is extremely difficult, and this is an area where people are extraordinarily private, often with feelings of shame or guilt. Many of us have been abused as children, have faced oppressions in daily life we play down, and—especially in this modern age of shared data—are suspicious of other people gathering data, where that data will go, and how they will use it. The loss of privacy has caused a lot of people to clam up. Even if the government asked as part of the census, the truth would not be shared by many of us.
• Problems in MEDIA REPORTING: Radical trans activists slamming reporters for asking about which genitalia are desired, do they still work, do they use them during sex; reporters/media take perspectives on the “transgender” social movement as there were no other—skewed public perception.

If someone includes cross dressers as part of an overall “umbrella” of “transgender” (they change gender expectations) then half the country should be included. It’s popular.

If we include people who need transition, yet who do not openly express, then we’re off the map, wildly guessing. I believe there are Many trans people who still have not come out.

If someone considers, as transgender, cross dressing full time and living in the “other” gender role, perhaps with hormones and some body alteration, including such as electrolysis, hair transplants, or breast augmentation, then I’m inclined to go with the 1.4 Million of the Williams Institute. I’d even go for a higher number, possibly. Problem with this is that some people only transition part-time or in part-places…

If we’re looking at SRS, or transsexuals, or people who approximate the other binary, as much as medical science will allow, then I do not feel the 2002 idea of 32,000 to be adequate. It was a long time ago. Looking at surgeons, output, people who say they’ve had it vs. people who indicate “maybe,” It seems that 70,000 may be a more realistic figure as of 2016. Tossing numbers into a mix of variables to give the semblance of a more accurate estimation is misleading, as it’s variables times variables. Lets admit it: It’s a guess for any of us.

(3) MY PREVALENCE GUESSWORK—Working With the Numbers:

With this, my working figure is that transgenders out number transsexuals by 20:1 (70,000 x 20 = 1,400,000) at my current guesswork, yet at some 30:1 if there are many more who haven’t come out, yet. It’s certain I’m wrong, but I do think it’s close. It’s in the ballpark, which is as close as anyone can get.
We’re small at any rate. The CENCUS Bureau says we’re at 324 million people in the United States as of this writing.

TRANS PEOPLE who evidence body change of some kind: 1.4m / 324m = 0.004—that’s 0.4% of the population of America.

TRANSSEXUALS: 70,000 / 324,000,000 = 0.0002—that’s 0.02% of the population of America.

GAYS: The public thinks Americans are 23% gay, but Gallup polling suggests 3.8%…/americans-greatly-overestimate-perc… Remember, however, American suspiciousness of disclosure, where data goes, and the invalidity of surveys… I think Gays are closer to 10% of the population, just not reporting/out.

Our trans person minorities are microscopic, compared to other minorities. We also suffer hate crimes, discriminations, oppressions, prejudice (veiled and open), and we also have such a microscopic support system. To compare, substitute another minority for “trans” and see how it sounds.

GAY: I’ll guess 10%
BLACK: 13.3%