As many as hundreds of Britons don't feel they fit the gender they were born with and are taking steps to change that, said a media report.
Latest figures revealed increases in the number of referrals to all of the UK's 14 gender identity clinics (GICs) in recent years, with a number of clinics experiencing increases of several hundred percent, the Guardian said in a report.
‘Hundreds of Britons are trying to change their gender in recent years, causing a strain on the transgender adult clinics due to rise in the referral rates.’
At Charing Cross in London, the oldest and largest adult clinic, the number of referrals has almost quadrupled in 10 years, from 498 in 2006-07 to 1,892 in 2015-16.
"It obviously can't continue like that forever because we'd be treating everyone in the country, but there isn't any sign of that levelling off," the Guardian quoted James Barrett, consultant psychiatrist at the Charing Cross clinic, as saying.
A clinic in Nottingham reported a 28-fold increase in referrals in eight years, from 30 in 2008 to 850 in 2015. It is expected to increase to over 1,000 referrals during 2016.
The increase put such a strain on the service that last October it estimated that new patients would have to wait four years for their first appointment, the report said.
There are just over 15,000 people who are gender identity patients in the UK -- roughly 12,700 adults and 2,700 adolescents or children.
However, international research suggested the numbers are far greater.
Recent studies in Belgium, New Zealand and the Netherlands, as well as a report for the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, found at least 1 percent of the population reported being trans or experience some kind of gender incongruence, the daily noted.