However, I submit that before drawing any conclusions from the hint provided by my superficial and non-genital/non-sexual signs, you would want to talk with me, and hear me about me – rather than first ask me to take my pants down and inspect my genitals. Regrettably, DSM- 5 (APA, 2013) continues to put a lot of emphasis on “sexual anatomy,” on “sex characteristics,” on “biological indicators of male and female,” amongst which they classify “sex chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, and nonambiguous [sic] internal and external genitalia.” Despite all the discussion that went into the change from “gender identity disorder” to “gender dysphoria,” the American Psychiatric Association (2013) could not bring themselves to drop the separate chapter “Gender dysphoria” from their manual of “mental disorders,” nor could they even once use the word “non-binary gender,” which appears to be much more typical for genders other than full-on cis-male and cis-female, and more palatable than the wordings they seem to prefer of “atypical gender” or “non-conforming gender” – although, in one section, they do use the rather lengthy “alternative gender identities beyond binary stereotypes” and once-off even the rather nice “desire to be of an alternative gender.” 

Being Trans 

The horrible reality I want to draw attention to is that it is highly dangerous to be trans (Serano, 2013) – as opposed to being Lacanian. There is a small start finally being made to statistically capture the numbers of people being killed because they are trans. The numbers identified so far are already large, and as the reporting improves, they are likely to be growing. Even some acquaintance with men who like to cross-dress at parties in London will immediately bring out the risk they run when returning home of being beaten up on the way, if they do not change into male or “invisible” clothing. Considerably more attention has been given to women who feel at risk when they return home via public transport after partying and are worried for their safety. It is unacceptable for anyone to need to worry about their safety when walking on the street or in public places at night, because of how they dress or who they are. 

How many trans people are there in the world? In the UK? In London? The real scientific answer is that we have no clue. Statistics in the past moved seamlessly from asking “how many trans people” to “how many people with gender identity disorder.” But this is not at all the same thing. Only very recently does attention start to be given to people who are in some way gender variant or genderqueer, but who manage their feelings in such a way that they are not identified in statistics, or with services, and who are not prepared to take the risks and deal with the disturbance still caused by having a full formal medical transition including surgery. These are people who know that their own sense of their gender does not simply coincide with what society seems to determine about the gender they were assigned at birth, but do not feel an immediate need to do something about it, by physically modifying their body. Do all or most people who are trans in this general sense want to “transition” completely, physically, surgically? Or even want to have hormones prescribed to them in certain quantities? How will we properly find out, when the dangers involved in being trans in public are as great as they are?