Transgender people are not necessarily transsexual. Transsexuals are people who feel they have been born in the wrong body and for whom surgery is normally the only solution. However, - although exact figures are obviously difficult to come by - it is estimated that 95% of transgender people are not transsexual. These people have a gender identity which could be described as;
both male and female
neither male nor female
a third gender
or who have a gender identity which we do not yet have words to describe.
It is very difficult to tell how many people are transgender, but most authoritative estimates put the number of transgender people in the UK at around 1%. This means that there are probably the same number of transgender people in the UK as the population of Sheffield.
This means that there should be around as many transgender children in our schools as children of Jamaican heritage, and more than twice as many as children of Bangladeshi heritage. A primary school of 300 children should have 3 transgender children.
The average age at which transgirls act on their feelings is around 8 years old (ie when they try some item of female clothing, makeup or 'girls' toys) which probably means that the average age they become aware they are transgender is actually around 6-7 years old. By contrast the average age for having sex change surgery is 42.
Transboys, often known as "Tomboys" have been relatively common in primary schools. Tomboys do still suffer from homophobic bullying being called "lezzies" and "dykes" and other such names. They tend to find however that their problems are more acute in secondary schools, when children who previously accepted them in primary school withdraw that acceptance. Female-to-male transgender children actually suffer more bullying in secondary schools than their male-to-female counterparts.
Transgirls are generally bullied by being called "sissies" and also suffer homophobic bullying. They quickly learn that being who they are is socially unacceptable and as such they usually hide or suppress their gender identities. This social pressure to conform to male stereotypes often does not just come from classmates or other boys at schools but often from siblings, parents and other relatives. In addition they recieve indirect pressure to conform to social definitions of masculinity in the media.
Many transgender children suppress their gender ideintities in childhood to the extent that they feel they are the problem. Often transgender boys, in particular, indulge in what one psychologist described as "hypermasculine" pursuits, even to the extent that some even join the army in order to try and masculinise themselves. They always fail. This shows how the psychological trauma and self-hatred from which transgender children can affect their mental health and well-being.
On average, transgender children leave school earlier than any other group, and a recent survey has shown that 25% have attempted suicide, and a further 25% have considered it.