Note: This study was going to be discussed in a documentary on AMC that was supposed to be aired on June 21st. AMC suddenly canceled the documentary less than 48 hours in advance.
Six researchers authored a paper called “Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden.” They work at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience and the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden
The researchers looked at 324 post-op transsexuals from 1973 to 2003. It included 191 male-to-female transsexuals and 133 female-to-male transsexuals. “Hazard ratios” were created by taking a random sample of ten people born the same year and the same birth gender for each post-op transsexual.
The researchers found that transsexuals had an overall mortality rate 2.8 times higher than people born the same year with the same birth gender. They sought psychiatric inpatient care at a rate of 2.8 times. They are convicted of a violent crime at a rate of 1.5 times.
They attempted suicide at a rate of 4.9 times. However, their death rate from suicide was a staggering 19.1 times that of people born the same year and the same birth gender.
The study was published by the United States Government’s National Institute for Health in 2011.
Main Outcome Measures
Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for mortality and psychiatric morbidity were obtained with Cox regression models, which were adjusted for immigrant status and psychiatric morbidity prior to sex reassignment (adjusted HR [aHR]).
The overall mortality for sex-reassigned persons was higher during follow-up (aHR 2.8; 95% CI 1.8–4.3) than for controls of the same birth sex, particularly death from suicide (aHR 19.1; 95% CI 5.8–62.9). Sex-reassigned persons also had an increased risk for suicide attempts (aHR 4.9; 95% CI 2.9–8.5) and psychiatric inpatient care (aHR 2.8; 95% CI 2.0–3.9). Comparisons with controls matched on reassigned sex yielded similar results. Female-to-males, but not male-to-females, had a higher risk for criminal convictions than their respective birth sex controls.
Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. 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.