Where have all the transfolk gone?
October 12, 2010 8:09 AM   Subscribe

I need statistical estimates on sex reassignment surgeries in the United States....

I'm looking for statistics on the frequency of sex reassignment surgeries in the United States. Barring that, I'll take the frequency of people identifying as transsexual. Barring that, I'll take the number of people diagnosed with gender identity disorder. These can be statistical extrapolations or estimates, that's fine, but I simply can't find them!

Peer-reviewed articles are the best but I would be happy to accept from others sources, the more recent the better. I have access to a large number of medical, sociological, etc., journals. I simply cannot find this information for the United States, although I have found it for Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and even Serbia!

Thanks all!
posted by WidgetAlley to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: On the Calculation of the Prevalence of Transsexualism might or might not help; check out Lynn Conway's website as well. She might be a good source for statistical information.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:32 AM on October 12, 2010

There are very few national data sources that ask the question, unfortunately, so reliable statistics are difficult to come by. You might want to connect up with the Center of Excellence for Transgender HIV Prevention at UCSF. They might be able to steer you to stat sources, such as they are.
posted by jasper411 at 8:47 AM on October 12, 2010

Someone at Fenway Health in Boston would surely know where you can find this info if it is publicly available.
posted by zizzle at 9:39 AM on October 12, 2010

Do bear in mind that if you get medical-sourced figure they'll be woefully under-representing. Trans health care in the USA is simply awful compared to European countries and many people simply bypass it entirely, sourcing hormones on the internet and (for those who can afford it) flying to Thailand for surgery.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:15 PM on October 12, 2010

To piggyback of ArmyofKitten's post: also consider that SRS also is not equally represented among MTFs and FTMs. For the latter, chest surgery is a more common procedure, while genital surgery is often skipped entirely. So, if you are pulling stats for the purpose of how many trans people get surgery for their transition, don't limit yourself to the genital stuff (plus, also remember some MTFs get breast augmentation, or facial feminization).

Genital surgery is not always required in order to change legal documentation, nor does every trans person think they need it for a successful transition. So, the idea of "sex reassignment surgery" itself can be vague and interpreted in a number of ways, which will make finding stats difficult.

I see some stats in this pdf, but vague stats are vague.
posted by Wossname at 2:07 PM on October 12, 2010

Not a scientific statistic in the least, but maybe a helpful data point: I understand this guy is one of only a handful of surgeons in the US specializing in sex reassignment, and his website gives estimates (scroll down) of the number of surgeries he performs.
posted by gueneverey at 2:36 PM on October 12, 2010

Best answer: Seconding ArmyOfKittens' point about US citizens traveling abroad to Thailand for surgery. I did, and I'm far from rare in that. There are surgeon options here that are simply cheaper financially-wise, and others who are arguably better result-wise and who offer terrific aftercare.

And I do mean 'here' since I'm still in Thailand comfortably convalescing after my surgery (which went very well).

Oh, and some people like hopping the Canadian border to see Dr. Brassard in Montreal, too.
posted by Pryde at 1:43 AM on October 13, 2010

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