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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Sociodemographic Study of Danish Individuals Diagnosed with Transsexualism

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INTRODUCTION: Male-to-female (MtF) and female-to-male (FtM) individuals with transsexualism (International Classification of Diseases-10) may differ in core clinical and sociodemographic variables such as age, sexual orientation, marriage and parenthood, school, educational level, and employment. Assessing and understanding the implication of such differences may be a key to developing appropriate and effective treatment and intervention strategies for this group. However, research in the area remains sparse and is often on small populations, making the generalization of results from current studies on individuals diagnosed with transsexualism difficult.

AIMS: (i) To describe and assess key sociodemographic and treatment-related differences between MtF and FtM individuals in a Danish population of individuals diagnosed with transsexualism; (ii) to assess possible implications of such difference, if any, for clinical treatment initiatives for individuals diagnosed with transsexualism.

METHODS: Follow-up of 108 individuals who had permission to undergo sex reassignment surgery (SRS, meaning castration and genital plastic surgery) over a 30-year period from 1978 to 2008 through the Gender Identity Unit in Copenhagen, Denmark. The individuals were identified through Social Security numbers. Clinical and sociodemographic data from medical records were collected.

RESULTS: The sex ratio was 1.16:1 (MtF : FtM). Mean age at first referral was 26.9 (standard deviation [SD] 8.8) years for FtM and 30.2 (SD 9.7) for MtF individuals. Compared with MtF, FtM had a significantly lower onset age (before 12 years of age) and lower age when permission for SRS was granted. Further, FtM individuals were significantly more often gynephilic (sexually attracted to females) during research period and less likely to start self-initiated hormonal sex reassignment (SR) (treatment with cross-sex hormones). The MtF and FtM groups did not differ in years of school, educational level, employment, or engagement in marriage and cohabitation.

CONCLUSIONS: As approximately half of MtF started cross-sex hormonal SR without attending a gender unit, future treatment needs to focus on this group of MtF individuals in order to accommodate the medical risks of self-initiated hormonal treatment.Earlier intervention with adolescents appears necessary since three-quarters of FtM individuals before age 12 had problems with their assigned sex. For both MtF and FtM, we found problems in areas of school, education, and employment and recommend further help in these core areas.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSexual Medicine Reviews
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)109-17
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

ID: 46208807