In many hearings lately, anti-trans activists have brought up "The Swedish Study" to claim that trans people have 19x higher suicide rates. This is a myth not supported by the study or the author.
Wow! Ask and ye shall receive! Thank you so much--this is why I keep asking everyone to support you!
The person who conducted the study is saying they're wrong, yet they still get away with it every time. The "provide me a list of sources" party once again no actually caring about science that disagrees with them.
It's true that the study was never designed to compare trans people who transitioned vs. those who didn't transition. But I get this uneasy feeling whenever I read that disclaimer that anyone who's unsympathetic will totally dismiss it. But I think the study itself clearly showed that the sex change in the modern era saves lives.
Nobody ever mentions that they also tracked suicide ATTEMPTS. This is important because there were all of 10 actual trans suicides during that 30-year period, and that number is so small that if they broke down the statistics by time period, they wouldn't have been able to say anything with the 95% statistical confidence that every study wants. All they could say with 95% confidence was that over that 30-year span (from the Watergate Hearings until "The Matrix Reloaded"!), post-op trans people in Sweden had a higher suicide rate than non-trans people.
But there were just enough suicide attempts that they were able to break it down by first-15 years vs. the 2nd 15-years. And this clearly showed that during the last half of the study period, 1989 - 2003, that the suicide rate after sex change was LESS than that of the non-trans control group (while we could also say with 95% confidence that it was higher). In other words, NO STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE between the suicidality of trans vs. non-trans Swedes.
As a 64 year old American, I can attest that before the late 1980's you had to be a total pioneer, complete with the "arrows in your back", to be able to successfully transition. By the late '80s there were just beginning to appear embryonic networks of support groups, doctors, & therapists, and several states were starting to let us change our birth certificates & drivers licenses, and a few companies were starting to change their policies so that they wouldn't summarily fire us for transitioning, etc. Heck, even just discovering that we weren't the only trans people in the world, and learning how to handle the basic logistics of a sex change, were becoming possible to more people via CompuServe & BBS'es. I could say kids these days have it waaaaay easier than we did, but... well... they do, dagnabbit! LOL
TL/DR: The suicide statistic in the Swedish study looks damning at first glance, but the suicide attempts statistic positively shows that the sex change in the modern era saves lives.
The confirmation bias is STRONG with our opposition. I just wish we could get it through their heads it isn't what they think it is and seriously outdated, but they want it to be true so badly they're convincing themselves it is truth.
Thanks for a great article! This is exactly the kind of info we all need in order to push back against misinformation when and wherever we can.
I know I'm basically a broken record saying this, but you can tell a transmisic bigot is lying because their lips are moving.
A few questions for my learned colleagues opposing gender-affirming treatment. If they are so concerned about increased risks of suicide, why then do they support conversion therapy, which carries a higher rate of suicide for those who have been subjected to the treatment? https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/lgb-suicide-ct-press-release/ (Answer: because perhaps evidence-based treatment is not their greatest concern here.) Since the study shows no increase in suicide among female to male transsexuals, why do they not support the provision of treatment to that population? (Answer: see above) What factors permit them to generalize results in Sweden to the rest of the world? (Answer: none, particularly given that, during that time, Nordic societies were considered one of the most homogenous populations in the world, with a much higher suicide rate, likely because there was a reduced stigma for suicide. For a fascinating read, check out the writings of the first sociologist, Emile Durkheim, on this topic, as well as later critics of his theories.) What factors permit them to state that correlation is causation in this study? (Answer: none, because it is not a study of causation and does not address other factors. It also studied only in-patient treatment, and presumed there was no reason to assume more trans people would be put into in-patient treatment than others, a potentially risky assumption in my opinion. In fairness, getting information from out-patient treatment in any kind of systematic way is difficult.)