Transgender People More Likely to Die of Suicide Than General Population, Danish Study Finds

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Shedding new light on the question of whether “gender-affirming” treatment reduces suicide risks among people suffering from gender dysphoria, a new study found that transgender individuals in Denmark are at significantly higher risk of suicide compared to the northern European country’s general population.

For their study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention in Copenhagen examined the health and legal records of 6.6 million Danish-born people over the span of 42 years.

The team identified and focused on 3,759 individuals (0.06 percent) who came out as transgender at a median age of 22 through a legal gender change or a hospital diagnosis or both between 1980 and 2021. Prior to 2014, Danish citizens must first undergo “gender-affirming” sterilization and surgery before they could legally change their gender identity.

This group of transgender individuals, according to the study, has seen 92 suicide attempts, 12 suicides, and 245 deaths of other causes during that period.

Compared to the rest of the people in the study, the transgender participants are 7.7 times more likely to attempt suicide and 3.5 times more likely to die of suicide. Even the non-suicide death rate is 1.9 times as high as that of their non-transgender counterparts.

The researchers believe that those figures are an undercount, since they are using data from the Danish Civil Registration System, a centralized database containing individual-level information on all people residing in Denmark. Relying on government data means that the study might not accurately count the suicide rates of those who self-identified as transgender but have never registered themselves as such with the government.

The study further found that the median age at which transgender participants made their first suicide attempt was 27, while it was at 36 for the non-transgender group. For the 12 transgender individuals who died by suicide, their median age was 45, whereas 36,308 suicides occurred among non-transgender individuals with a median age of 52 years.

On top of that, the median age at which non-suicide deaths occurred among transgender participants was 70, which is eight years younger than that of the non-transgender group.

While the study did not discuss much about the reason behind the prevalent suicidal behaviors in Denmark’s transgender population, the researchers said it might have to do with “minority stress.”

“Transgender individuals may be exposed to systemic negativity regarding their trans identity in the form of bullying, discrimination, exclusion, and prejudice, which in turn may result in alienation and internalized stigma, mental health problems, and, ultimately, suicidal behavior,” the authors wrote.

It’s worth noting that Denmark is already considered one of the most transgender-friendly countries in the world. In a ranking published by the European chapter of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe), Denmark comes in at third place in all 49 European countries with a score of 75 in terms of protecting sexual and gender minority rights, only after Malta (89) and Belgium (76).

Sweden Study

Interestingly, the authors did mention a study from Sweden, which found that suicide risks actually increased among transgender people after their surgical transition.

In the Swedish study, published in 2011 in open-access online journal PLOS One, researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet matched each of the 324 surgically transitioned participants to 10 randomly selected non-transgender controls and compared the mortalities of the two groups.

Similar to the findings of the new Danish study, it found that transgender individuals are 4.9 times more likely to attempt suicide and 19.1 times more likely to die of suicide than their controls.

“Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behavior, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population,” the Swedish authors wrote. “Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group,” the 2011 study found.

The 2011 study also found that transgender individuals were at “increased risk of being convicted for any crime or violent crime after sex reassignment.”

The JAMA study comes as more people who transitioned at a young age come out saying that they regret mutilating their otherwise healthy bodies, and that their underlining mental health problems have not been cured, and sometimes worsened, because of medical or surgical transitions.

The Epoch Times has reported on a lawsuit brought by a California girl against a hospital and its three doctors for engaging in “ideological and profit-driven medical abuse,” alleging that she was rushed into breast removal when she was just 13, which she now regrets.

In her complaint filed at a California court earlier this month, 18-year-old Layla Jane said she was “exposed to online transgender influencers” who promoted her to “entertain with the erroneous belief” that she was actually a boy. Following a rather brief 30-minute discussion with Jane and her parents, the three sued doctors decided that Jane could have her breasts removed.

“Defendants did not question, elicit, or attempt to understand the psychological events that led Kayla to the mistaken belief that she was transgender, nor did they evaluate, appreciate, or treat her multi-faceted presentation of co-morbid symptoms,” the complaint reads.

“Instead, Defendants assumed that Kayla, a twelve-year-old emotionally troubled girl, knew best what she needed to improve her mental health and figuratively handed her the prescription pad. There is no other area of medicine where doctors will surgically remove a perfectly healthy body part and intentionally induce a diseased state of the pituitary gland misfunction based simply on the young adolescent patient’s wishes.”

Jane told The Epoch Times that the surgery didn’t make her feel better. She accused her doctors of wrongly focusing on physically “affirming” her supposed new gender rather than addressing her mental health issues.

“Nobody—none of my doctors—tried anything to make me comfortable in my body, or meaningfully pushed back or asked questions; they only affirmed,” the teenager told The Epoch Times.

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