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Serving Transgender Victims of Sexual Assault
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June 2014
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The Numbers

During the 2010 U.S. Census, when asked to identify their sex, 51 percent of the population selected "female" and 49 percent selected "male."1 These are the only two options offered, which does not allow individuals to note whether their current identity is consistent with the sex they were assigned at birth or whether "male" or "female" is an accurate description of their identity. As a result, most estimates of the size of the transgender population are educated guesses. The most common estimates range from 0.3 percent of the population to 3 percent.2

For the most part, these estimates refer only to people who intend to or who have already transitioned from one gender to another, which does not reflect the experiences of all transgender people. For example, "transgender" can include those who cross-dress or who transcend traditional societal norms about gender expression. Tri-Ess, an international social and support group for heterosexual cross-dressers, their partners, the spouses of married cross-dressers, and their families, believes that one in five heterosexual men cross-dress at some point in their lives.3 In addition, a growing number of individuals—particularly youth—are expressing their gender in more creative, non-conforming ways:

  • Goths of all genders may intentionally cross traditional gender stereotypes, wearing makeup, fingernail polish, long trench coats, and/or wide-bottomed pants that look similar to skirts. This population is rarely counted within transgender prevalence statistics.
  • Some male musicians bend gender, wearing makeup, long hair, or accessories such as scarves and jewelry typically worn by women in Western culture.

Also not included in the U.S. Census reports are intersex individuals. The Intersex Society of North America defines intersex as "a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male."4 It is estimated that between 0.5 and 1 percent of the population have a medical condition that falls under the intersex umbrella.5