Does Gender Affirming Care Reduce Suicide Rates For Young People With Gender Dysphoria?

A new study has the internet afire.

Gideon M-K; Health Nerd
12 min readFeb 28, 2024
I looked for stock photos of “gender” and honestly they were surprisingly delightful. Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

If you’re a science writer online, there are roughly 5 topics that you should studiously avoid, because engaging with them in any way will fill up your inbox for months with angry people regardless of your position. Vaccines are one. Vaping. Oddly enough, breastfeeding. And, of course, the ongoing war about anything related to transgender people.

This week, a new study has come out that has caused a huge amount of controversy in the discussion about healthcare for young transgender people. If you read the reports from anti-treatment groups, the study is proof that young adults experiencing gender dysphoria — the feeling of (often extreme) discomfort caused by differences in self-perceived gender and a person’s sex assigned at birth — are mentally ill and need counselling rather than hormones and gender-affirming surgery. However, if you look at the actual data from the study, a rather different picture emerges about the importance here for transgender people.

If you look at the results the authors report, it seems like gender-affirming hormones and surgery are associated with a massive two-thirds reduction in suicide risk for people with gender dysphoria. That’s…quite different to the…