Credit: Ted Eytan

A comprehensive study by researchers at the University of Texas has debunked claims made by transgender activists who say that undergoing a sex change prevents suicide. 

The frequently touted claim was put to the test by researchers who analyzed the cases of millions of patients, both those who had undergone sex changes and those who had not. 

Findings showed that those who changed their gender had a 12 times higher suicide attempt risk than those admitted for emergency care with no history of sex change surgery.

The peer-reviewed study was published in April 2024 and is the largest of its kind. 

Researchers observed that following gender-affirmation surgery, 3.47% of individuals attempted suicide. For the 15,608,363 individuals analyzed who had an emergency visit but no history of gender-affirmation surgery, the suicide attempts fell to 0.3%. A total of 1,501 adult patients who visited the emergency department with a history of gender-affirmation surgery were included in the measure.

The study called for a greater need for comprehensive psychiatric care in the years following sex change surgery. 

“With suicide being one of the most common causes of death for adolescent and middle-aged individuals, it is clear that we must work to prevent these unfortunate outcomes,” wrote the study’s authors.

Researchers relied on patient data from the TriNetX database, which stores information from 56 United States healthcare organizations and over 90 million patients between February 4, 2003, and February 4, 2023. Suicide attempts, deaths, self-harm, and PTSD were tallied within five years of the index event.

Researchers also noted that patients with a history of sex change surgery were 3.35 times more likely to have died. Patients who had undergone a sex change had a risk 9.88 times greater for self-harm or suicide compared to individuals who had not undergone surgery. The study differentiated the risk of suicide and self-harm from suicide attempts.

Patients with a history of sex change surgery also had a 7.76 higher risk of PTSD.

While this study focused on the United States, a similar study conducted in part by Canadian researchers with more of a focus on Canada showed similar data. 

“Data indicate that 82% of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves and 40% have attempted suicide, with suicidality highest among transgender youth,” said the previous study that analyzed Canada and the United States.

Propensity matching is a statistical method used to conduct comparisons by matching individuals with similar characteristics. The University of Texas research study created a propensity-matched group based on age at index, race, ethnicity, and sex. 

Propensity matching was only conducted for individuals who underwent sex change surgery and the control group of adults with emergency visits who had tubal litigation or vasectomy but no sex change surgery. Propensity matching was unavailable for the standard group without tubal litigation or vasectomies as the sample size of more than 15 million was too large.

Before propensity matching, those who underwent a sex change surgery had five times as many suicide attempts, a 2.37 higher chance of being deceased, a 5.44 times higher risk for suicide or self-harm, and a 3.74 times higher chance of PTSD, compared to individuals who had a vasectomy or tubal litigation.

After propensity matching, 1,489 patients of similar age at index, race, and ethnicity were compared. The values were similar, indicating a connection between sex changes and suicide or self-harm.

After propensity matching, individuals who underwent a sex change surgery had 4.71 times more suicide attempts, a 4.26 times higher chance of being deceased, a 5.10 times higher risk for suicide or self-harm, and a 3.23 times higher chance of PTSD.

“The results of this study show that gender-affirmation surgery is associated with a significantly higher risk of suicide, death, suicide/self-harm, and PTSD compared to control groups in this real-world database,” concluded the study.

Radio-Canada previously reported that young teens in Quebec were being rushed into irreversible gender transitions. 

This rush for transition comes despite a recent study concluding that most feelings of gender non-contentedness in youth dissipate over time.

“Gender non-contentedness, while being relatively common during early adolescence, in general, decreases with age and appears to be associated with a poorer self-concept and mental health throughout development,” concluded that study.