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New study estimates 1.6 million in U.S. identify as transgender -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: One person raises a flag to protest Trump’s proposed transgender plan to reduce gender boundaries to male and female at birth at City Hall in New York City. The rally took place on October 24, 2018, U.S.A. REUTERS/Brendan McD


Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – A new study has estimated that almost 1.64 million Americans aged 13 and older are transgender. It was based upon an analysis of expanded federal health surveys.

The study estimates that about 0.5% of all U.S. adults, some 1.3 million people, and about 1.4%, or 300,000, of youth between 13- and 17-years-old identify as transgender, having a different gender identity than the sex they were assigned at birth.

Researchers at UCLA’s Williams Institute conducted the analysis. This think tank is focused on gender identity policy and was able to conclude that both the number and percentage of transgender people in the United States had “remained constant” since 2016, when the institute released its last estimates.

Jody Herman, one author of the study, stated in an interview that the “report shows trans people exist everywhere and their needs, concerns, and need to be heard and addressed in the policy landscape.”

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Data from two types of U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) surveys were used by researchers to create the data.

Jae Selvelius, an assistant professor of medicine at University of California San Francisco, said that it was the best estimate of the population using only “the best data available currently to make these estimations.”

Sevelius added, “That being stated, even best-available data is not great,” adding that findings from the new study were not peer reviewed and align with previous estimates.

Sevelius and a colleague conducted a peer-reviewed meta-analysis published in 2017 in the American Journal of Public Health that found nearly 1 million U.S. adults were transgender, based on more limited data than in the Williams Institute study. It was considered conservative and they concluded that future surveys will likely uncover higher numbers of transgender persons.

Sevelius and researchers at the Williams Institute noted that the CDC data is not perfect. According to the Williams Institute study, only 15 states used the optional questions on gender identity that the CDC had introduced in 2017.

Sevelius stated that survey language can be problematic. Sevelius mentioned, for example, that some CDC question asks transgender respondents if their gender is “male/female” or ‘female/male.” These terms are rejected by many trans people.

Sevelius explained that the tool was used to measure something very complex, particularly for young people.