It has long been parroted as an unquestionable truism that if we do not fully affirm and support the wishes of every gender-confused or gender-pretending young person or adult, we risk being responsible for their possible death. “I’d rather have an alive son than a dead daughter” goes the assertion, backed up by the constant claim from officials that so-called “gender affirming care” is lifesaving.
It is a serious charge because lives supposedly hang in the balance. But we must all fully appreciate that the claim is as manipulative as it is false. A convincing body of medical research makes this clear and is demonstrated by the very careful and fair research specialists at the Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine (SEGM).
SEGM has published an important new research summary on this topic. Their focus is on a new Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) research article on trans identity and suicidality in Denmark, but they address the larger, international body of research on this topic. Their commentary is most insightful.
First, they explain that affirming someone’s gender confusion or providing medical intervention via drugs or removing healthy body parts has had no substantial effect on reducing suicide rates.
The SEGM researchers explain, “one finding remains remarkably consistent across multiple studies: despite the wide availability of ‘gender-affirming’ care and especially in recent years, individuals who identify as transgender continue to struggle with a significant burden of psychiatric symptoms and remain at significantly elevated risk of morbidity and mortality … including deaths by suicide.”
Other studies have reported persistently elevated rates of suicide regardless of the stage of an individual’s transition (from pre-transition assessment to the post-surgical period). Research into suicidality in gender-diverse youth suggests that while their suicidality is elevated, it is comparable to youth who suffer from psychiatric symptoms but do not have gender dysphoria, and that the absolute risk of death by suicide remains low.
Widespread social affirmation of all things transgender, even in the most progressive countries and communities in the world, have had insignificant effect on mental health and suicide rates. Surgeries and drug treatments are not being shown to help either. So no, so-called “gender affirming care” is not lifesaving nor does it improve mental health.
Regarding mental health, this new JAMA study shows “that trans-identified individuals in Denmark have a markedly elevated rate of psychiatric illness compared to non-trans-identified individuals (43% vs 7%).” It would be nearly impossible to be more affirming of alternative genders and sexualities then in Scandinavia. This higher prevalence of mental difficulty is also supported by this graph from an Atlantic article published last year.
Regarding suicidality, the SEGM scholars explain,
Specifically, the rate of suicide attempts among transgender-identified individuals was 7.7 times higher (6.6 times higher in the last decade), suicide mortality was 3.5 times higher (2.8 times higher in the last decade), suicide-unrelated mortality was 1.9 times higher (1.7 times higher over the last decade), and all-cause mortality was two times higher (1.7 times higher over the last decade).
These figures are “consistent with findings from population studies in other countries.” They add, “Similarly troubling long-term health outcomes have been found among transgender-identified Dutch, Swedish, and English individuals.”
And most striking, “a long-term study from the Netherlands found that ‘suicide deaths occurred during every stage of transitioning’ at equal rates” demonstrating again that “gender-affirming medical care” is indeed not life-saving.
Second, the actual suicide rates for gender- and sexually-experimental individuals are consistently elevated, but are in actuality, remarkably low over all. SEGM explains,
Research into suicidality in gender-diverse youth suggests that while their suicidality is elevated, it is comparable to youth who suffer from psychiatric symptoms but do not have gender dysphoria, and that the absolute risk of death by suicide remains low.
Specifically, the average clinician would need to treat 1,333 transgendered identified patients before encountering one who died of suicide.
Third, the JAMA study supports other data showing a dramatic and unprecedented increase in trans identification of late, driven primarily by young people. This speaks more to the role of social contagion than anything natural in human development.
SEGM states, “Although the [JAMA] study covers 42 years, nearly 70% of all transgender-identified individuals in the study are from the last decade, 2010-2021.” SEGM notes, “This is remarkable.”
No one should be bullied by manipulative assertions that parents, teachers and extended family members not affirming gender-confused youth and adults will be responsible for their death. It is manipulative and untrue. It also shows that all this increasing, wide-spread affirmation is not preventing suicide and mental illness in any appreciable manner. It may even be making it worse.
As SEGM concludes,
To date, every systematic evidence review has concluded that the evidence of psychological benefit of “gender-affirming” puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery for youth is of very low certainty. In contrast, the harms of hormonal interventions, including infertility, sterility, and adverse effects on bone and cardiovascular health are much better established.
Gender affirmation is a false love. What gender confused people need is compassionate help in coming to terms with the fact that God does not make mistakes by putting us in the wrong body. Our natural bodies are a gift. And mutilating what God gave us will not heal the mind.
Focus on the Family exists to help families, and that includes help navigating the issues of homosexuality and transgenderism. Focus offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a counseling consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.
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