October 24, 2009

How many male to female transsexuals are there?

The idea that transsexualism is a very rare phenomenon is common, and makes it easier for M2F transgendered to believe that they are, indeed, deviants and very much alone in their sufferings.

The number that often pops up is that 1 in 30,000 males is transgendered (i.e. understands themselves as women).

I for one, find the number 1:30,000 to be surprisingly large, actually, given how seldom you hear about transsexuals in the media.

However, the readers of this blog should note that Professor Lynn Conway of the University of Michigan has challenged this number in a very convincing way. The percentage of M2F transsexuals is much, much higher, she claims.

Counting surgeries performed over the years, Conway made an estimate of at least 40,000 postoperative trans women in the U.S. in 2005. These women had transitioned out of a population of roughly 100,000,000 adult males.

"Simple division reveals that at least one in every 2500 people born as males here has undergone sex reassignment surgery (SRS): i.e., ~ 40,000/100,000,000 = 1/2500."

There is something on the order of 5 times as many people inherently experience transsexualism than those who have already undergone sex reassignment – leading Conway to conclude the inherent condition occurs in at least one in every 500 children born as males.

Note that this figure of 1 in 500 is a "lower bound" on the prevalence of transsexualism (intense gender dysphoria), and the actual value could be higher.

If we also should include autogynephiliacs who fantasize about having a woman's body, but consider themselves male and do not wish for sex reassignment surgery, the number would probably must be much higher.

We are not that alone! Really!

Photo of transwoman model Isis.


  1. I really wish everyone could put their masks away and be who they really are. Seems like all it takes is for one very strong opinionated person to make people want to hide their shame.

  2. I really appreciated this post. I've often wondered the same thing when I have discussions with people who challenge that I'm supporting only a very small portion of the overall population. My answer is always, "And because you believe this group is so small - they should still be persecuted?!" Some people actually quantify "causes" (which is a term I loathe because of it's trivializing tone) by how many people are affected.

    Not only does it not matter how small the group of people is (hate is hate no matter the scale - and all people deserve justice and equality), but this research also suggests that it's not such a small group after all.

    Thanks again for posting this.

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  4. If we include those that will never consider sex reassignment surgery, but who still feel that they have a strong "inner woman" or "inner man", and who have feelings, fantasies, behavioral traits normally attributed to the opposite sex, the number of transgendered would be even higher.

    This is not the the kind of thing most people talk about, and most of the transgendered (in this wide sense of the word) will never tell another living soul about what they are going through.

    I would not be surprised if one found that at least 1 out of 50 are transgendered in one way or the other.

    If that is the case, we can no longer talk about this as a disease, deviant behavior, a perversion or a dysfunction. It becomes something perfectly normal and natural that has to be included in our culture.

  5. What would be interesting is some research into treatment options for sufferers of autogynephilia.

    A treatment option I use is to take low dose female hormones via my doctor. 25mg patches. This does seem to to keep my GID under control. The low dose hormone works well and keeps my head clear. I have fully confessed my autogynephilia to both my care givers who seem to feel this is a good treatment option for me. I guess I'm allergic to my own testosterone or its own natural levels are to high for me.

    My autogynephilia demands that I feminise myself, whilst doing so I'm also damping the nasty nagging of autogynephilia. The desire does not go completly but it's easier to deal with.

    I have had a six month break from hormones (after 2 years) , and the autogynephilic desires are back stronger than ever. I'm fighting with myself as to what to do, either go back on the patches and accept a more feminine lifestyle or battle with myself as a male.

    The autogynephilic demon is offering me the ability to obtain my life long desire of feminisation. But at the same time something which is so desirable for me is also so very frightening.

  6. Something which I find very confusing with autogynephila is how over time the elements of the autogynephic fantasy have been moved from the fantasy realm into reality. I've suffered from fantasies of being wanting to transform myself into a female from very early memories.

    If I look back over the last 20 years I've taken steps to realise the fantasy. These include:

    Getting my ears pierced. Age 20
    Having a nose job to have a feminine nose Age 30
    Getting my belly button pierced Age 35
    Taking hormones on off, followed by a supervised 2 year period to date.
    Growing my hair long, to the point where I get the odd funny look from others who must wonder about my sexuality.

    I'm at the stage where fantasy and reality have become somewhat blurred. Yet the autogynephilic drive still pushes me tempting me with my ultimate fantasy goal. Sometimes the things we desire most can be frightening.

    Am I on a run-a-way train???

  7. I must say, I'm very happy to have found this blog!

    Ever since I discovered girls at that confusing pubescent age, I've wondered why I fantasized about being one.

    I was quite confused for many years. At first I thought I was homosexual, but the idea of sex with a man was...unappealing...I wondered if I was perverted; but I appreciate and respect women, sexually and socially...not the attitudes of a pervert.

    Then I was diagnosed as bi-polar, which I was told can cause "sexual deviance." (which is a load of horse manure)I came to believe it was a symptom of my illness, and that my medication would alleviate it. No dice...

    Ultimately, I just couldn't make any sense of it...I was/am interested in women, but wanted to be one...I had no interest in guys...

    So, I opted for celibacy...eventually figuring I just liked women "too much".

    Recently I found out about Autogynephilia on wikipedia. (wonderful site that one)Just knowing other people had the same questions and concerns allowed me to open up to my mother and sister, to a degree. Thankfully they're the open-minded sort...

    Now, I am a bit more at peace with my interests. I know I'm not into guys, just the ladies.(and I mean lady in every sense of the word)
    Now it's just a matter of dealing with my esteem and self-image issues...(a relic of my father's abuse)

    So seeing this site warms my heart, hopefully knowing that others are out there. That they are discussing these issues...maybe it'll help someone like me who was confused and suffered for it.

    For the record, since I noticed some questions about fetishism in relation to Autogynephilia in your previous posts.

    For my part, I have no interest in most of the fetishes...sissy, bdsm, AR/AP, etc...With the exception of TF(animal), and a general scientific interest. As my own experience has rendered me interested in human sexuality as a whole.

    I surmise that the roots of my one fetish, and the autogynephilia may lie in the abuse by my father. I've a poor self image, and often fantasized as a child(before puberty) of changing into something else and living a different life. Didn't matter what really, just as long as my life was different.


  8. Thank you very much for some really great comments! I had hoped that this blog would give others the opportunity to share their stories, but I had not expected so many. Thank you! They are of great help for me, and -- I believe -- for other readers as well.

    I have made a post on the comment on treatment options for sufferers of autogynephilia:


    I believe that that post can be of relevance to all your comments, as goes into the psychological side of autogynephilia (cp. "Am I on a runaway train?" and the comment on childhood abuse).


  9. Doesn't seem that strange. I like women so much that I sometimes really want to be one. The term "autogynephilia" is new to me. Thanks for that!

  10. that's kinda insulting to call autogynephilia a demon, oh person in the comments section. we don't need any of that. the word itself is controversial enough, there is nothing wrong with a woman loving her body but when a male who has the mind of a woman who loves her body WELL THEN EVERYONE LOSES THEIR MINDS. And when you call such a thing demonic you hurt the feelings of others who are experiencing it too, feelings of those who embrace it rather than think it's something to be avoided like the plague just cuz society makes fun of autogynephilia in the media.

  11. and it also bad to act like autogynephilia is some kind of "disease" because you commenters keep using words like "suffering from" and "frightening". When you describe it with words like that it makes it hard for the rest of us to be taken seriously, and encourages doctors to want to "cure it like a disease" rather than "embrace our identity".

  12. Ugh...Why do you guys use the word autogynephilia so damn much...Just urg...Half of these accounts are just clear cut transsexuality...Like what does wanting to be a mother and nurture a baby have ANYTHING to do with autogynephilia, WHATSOEVER. Honey, if you are an autogynephile and you take HRT and you still feel like a woman, you are a transsexual woman. You don't have to label yourself as anything else. You can even just label yourself as a woman, period. It is natural and healthy for BORN WOMEN to fantasize about their bodies in a sexual manner. Technically they are autogynephiles, too. But it wouldn't make sense for us to call them that. You put a special stigma on transsexual mtfs when you use special terminology with them implying they are somewhat seperate from women. And for those people experiencing distress from "autogynephilia", likely it is due to percieved social isolation or simply a form of gender identity dysphoria. The ancient greek origin of autogynephilia means "love of ones female body" but when you use it in this context it opens a whole 'nother bag of worms with the Ray Blanchard controversial nonsense so I think you should avoid this term when possible, especially in a public forum, unless you are around a friend who takes what you mean as the classic Greek definition.

  13. @ponies

    I agree with much of what you say, but I find this a bit difficult:

    "and it also bad to act like autogynephilia is some kind of "disease" because you commenters keep using words like "suffering from" and "frightening". "

    For the crossdreamer who has been told he is some kind of natural pervert this is frightening, and he suffers tremendously from being cast out in this way.

    If society treat this as a disease (and in the US psychiatry does)the suffering will continue.

    I have found that it helps crossdreamers tremendously to be able to talk about their fears, their loneliness and their grief.

    (And again, this is a post from 2009. I no longer use the term autogynephilia in this way, as it is stigmatizing and pathologises crossdreamers and trans people. Instead I use the neutral term crossdreamer to refer to people who get aroused by the idea of the target sex).

  14. I believe that they need to clarify this. They must make it clear to me that it is not their cross-sex autoerotiscm which frightens them, but societies perception of it.

    I am not sure it is labeled as a disease any longer since 2012, I will have to look it up.

    Second, crossdreaming is an innaccurate label for cross-sex autoerotiscm. Crossdreaming does not imply anything sexual. Your meaning of it does.

  15. In the Nordic countries "transvestic fetishism" has been taken out of the local versions of the WHO ICD manual of mental diseases (which is used in Europe).

    In the 2013 edition of the DSM manual still has "autogynephilia" (but not "autoandrophilia") listed under "transvestic disorder". The different expert groups are clearly divided, however, as gender dysphoria is no longer considered a mental illness, and being diagnosed as "autogynephilic" will not stop you from being classified as "gender dysphoric". In other words: According to one diagnosis you are mentally ill, according to the other your crossdreaming is just a natural expression of your dysphoria. It does't make much sense, but must nevertheless be understood as progress.


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