I recently wrote a playful Cyrsti's Condo post comparing my self as a "ten percenter" transgender woman with a "one percenter" outlaw biker gang person.
On a very serious level, Paula replied ":I always worry about these sorts of stats, almost by definition they will be wrong, the first question that comes to mind is how do they know the person they have met is, or is not transgender? While we may well not deny it we will rarely announce it. Then again of course we are still transgender even when we are not presenting against our natal gender, so all those who have met us at any time have in fact met a transgender person even though they don't know it ~ if you see what I mean."
I do see what you mean Paula. On one hand-like you I question the number of people who may have met a transgender woman or man and never realized it. Stealth or not, no one has the responsibility to wear a sign which tells the world we are trans. Others of course transition so well, no one would ever tell. However, personal experience leads me to believe the number may not be that far off.
First of all, to get technical, I look at the definition of transgender. At times I feel our own culture can't figure out exactly what that definition should be or if the average civilian on the street can understand it. If you take me for example, while it's true I can navigate society as a feminine person, more than likely I will never reach the point of being perceived as a genetic female. It's also true I have a fairly sizable amount of people who have met me enough to know something is up. If you gave them a survey which asked if they had ever met a transgender person, I'm sure many would answer no. There is no reason for them to identify me with the word. Conversations in the real world for me just don't start with "Hey Cyrsti, are you transgender?".
Here is another reason why I could be a believer in the "ten percenter". I live in a relatively small town but within 100 miles or so of several fairly decent sized ones (Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Ohio). Over the past several years, I have been in the "anti-closet". I have been out and not hidden. You can reach me here through my email, Facebook or Twitter. The grand total of trans friends I have is TWO. Both are a joy to me, one trans man, one trans woman. In addition, I stay in contact with a couple others who live relatively close to me. So my basic math is telling me when I took the basic populations of the counties around me I came up with approx 3 million peeps. Ten percent of course is 300,000 transgender folks around me. So around here at least I'm thinking my "category" is well below the 10 percent. But that's OK.
I have never had a problem with who I was and if I'm a trans five percenter, I'm even more rare. But all you stat freaks out there- I know my small sampling is not enough to sway the stats!