Some fear or loathe transgender individuals as molesters or sexual predators or view them as fickle because they can’t stick with their birth gender.

Dr. Bob Athanasiou

But most suffer from birth deformities, hormone imbalances or other issues that compromise gender issues and they are more likely to be victims than perpetrators, said Dr. Bob Athanasiou, an expert in transgender issues who spoke Monday to The Villages Civil Discourse Club at the Savannah Center. His talk was entitled “Transgender Politics: All that they want is a place to pee.”

Besides his medical degree from the University of Albany, Athanasiou has a doctor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. He was an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins and a former certified sex therapist.

He said there are roughly 700,000 transgender people in the U.S., or about six per 1,000 population.

“There’s a good chance there are a dozen or so transgender people in The Villages and you don’t know who they are,” Athanasiou said.

Gender is not always as clear as most people believe.

He cited a decades-old case of identical twin boys. When one’s penis was severely burned at eight months old during circumcision, the parents decided to raise him as a girl. Both twins adapted quickly. Later, in the doctor’s waiting room, the boy rough-housed wile the girl sat quietly holding a doll.

In other cases, children have been born with male organs on the outside and female organs on the inside due to an adrenal gland problem. Some have been born both with testicles and a vagina.

“People grow up physically of one gender with a brain functioning as if it was of another gender,” he said.

Unlike babies born without an arm or leg, these deformities are treated differently by society, Athanasiou said.

About 74 percent of

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