New legislation has most recently been enacted in Spain and Scotland to protect ‘gender rights,’ in line with the general trend towards recognizing LGBT rights. The EU’s Thematic Report on Legal Gender Recognition in Europe might leave the impression that gender issues affect the lives of a significant number of people.
But the numbers reveal a different reality.
A recent study, by the Austrian publication eXXpress, shows that the number of openly ‘transgender’ people is infinitesimal: among 9 million Austrians, there were 12 people registered as transgender, according to official Austrian population statistics, as of January 1st, 2023.
Based on these numbers, the subject of gender would seem far from the everyday lives of most Austrians.
Slightly larger, though still minute, are the numbers reported in Germany, which has almost 10 times the population of Austria. While exact statistics are not available and the numbers at hand are inaccurate due to different definitions of ‘transgender,’ two sets of criteria may give an indication: state court information regarding name changes and the number of sex reassignment operations.
In 2020 there were 2,687 reported name changes. In that same year, there were 773,100 recorded births. That means 0.35 people changed their names. This amounts to 0.0031% of the entire population of Germany.
Another indicator is the number of sex reassignment surgeries—which in Germany are subsidised by the public health sector. The German Society for Transidentity reported that 2,155 persons underwent such a surgical operation in 2020. This amounts to 0.0025% of the population.
The numbers in England and Wales are slightly higher than in the two aforementioned countries. According to the 2021 census, a total of 262,000 people indicated that their ‘gender identity’ was different from their registered sex at birth. Of these, 48,000 identified as ‘trans men’ and (strangely, an identical number) 48,000 identified as ‘trans women.’ In addition, 30,000 identified as ‘non-binary’ and ’18,000’ as ‘different.’ With a total population of 53,107,000, these groups together make up 0.27% of the population.
Despite this infinitesimally small group within the larger context of society, LGBT and transgender lobby groups have successfully focused attention on their demands and call for ‘rights,’ sometimes effectively introducing sweeping legal changes.
In Scotland, young people will be able to legally change their gender without the need for a medical diagnosis, as set out in the new Gender Recognition Reform Bill. In February of this year, Spain passed a comprehensive law to expand protections and entrench rights for ‘LGBT’ people. Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, and Portugal have also removed requirements concerning legal gender recognition, such as medical or psychological evaluation.