Reduction in Mental Health Treatment Utilization Among Transgender Individuals After Gender-Affirming Surgeries: A Total Population Study

Reduction in Mental Health Treatment Utilization Among Transgender Individuals After Gender-Affirming Surgeries: A Total Population Study

Published in: American Journal of Psychiatry. October 4, 2019. Authors: Richard Bränström, Ph.D., John E Pachankis, Ph.D.

Yet another study documenting what we already know: transgender people who receive affirming care show dramatic improvement, especially when compared to those in disaffirming environments.

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“Compared with the general population, individuals with a gender incongruence diagnosis were about six times as likely to have had a mood and anxiety disorder health care visit, more than three times as likely to have received prescriptions for antidepressants and anxiolytics, and more than six times as likely to have been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Years since initiating hormone treatment was not significantly related to likelihood of mental health treatment (adjusted odds ratio=1.01, 95% CI=0.98, 1.03). However, increased time since last gender-affirming surgery was associated with reduced mental health treatment (adjusted odds ratio=0.92, 95% CI=0.87, 0.98).”

The AusPATH [Australian Professional Association for Trans Health] Position Statement on "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria" (ROGD)

Published September 30, 2019. Shared here in its’ entirety.

“The Australian Professional Association for Trans Health (AusPATH) was established in 2009 and is Australia’s peak body for professionals involved in the health, rights and well-being of trans, including gender diverse and non-binary (TGDNB), people. The AusPATH membership comprises approximately 250 experienced professionals working across Australia.

“The term “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD)” is not a diagnosis or health condition recognised by any major professional association, nor is it listed as a subtype or classification in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Therefore, “ROGD” is an acronym describing a proposed phenomenon, with insufficient peer-reviewed scientific evidence to support its implementation and/or use within clinical, community, social and legal settings1.

“AusPATH affirms the rigorous processes by which diagnoses are developed and applied. These academic and clinical processes operate within professional medical organisations, and are developed by expert working groups of  scientists, clinicians, and stakeholders over long periods of time, with high levels of scientific scrutiny of the evidence-based literature. “ROGD” does not meet this standard, and therefore is not recognised by AusPATH.

“Whilst many have a clear picture of their gender from a very early age, for others the journey towards understanding their gender is more prolonged. The timing of when an individual discloses their gender to others is a separate consideration and does not necessarily reflect the development of their experienced gender. Many do not disclose their identity, rather hiding it for fear of negative reactions from others, including family rejection, discrimination, stigmatisation and social exclusion. The term “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” is not, and has never been, a diagnosis or health condition but has been used in a single report describing parental perception of their adolescent’s gender identity without exploration of the gender identity and experiences of the adolescents themselves.

“AusPATH encourages continued scientific exploration within a culture of academic freedom, not censorship. All TGDNB people are deserving of gender-affirmative, evidence-based care that is underpinned by contemporary, adequately endorsed and community engaged standards of care and clinical guidelines.

“AusPATH recognises the harms caused by conversion, reparative and aversion treatments and opposes any such efforts to invalidate an individual’s experienced gender. AusPATH supports affirmative responses to young people whereby self-reported gender is respected, and young people are able to safely explore their gender and expression without judgment, pathologisation or predetermined outcome. AusPATH urges caution in the use of any term that has the potential to invalidate a person’s gender.

  1. WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) position on “Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD)”4 September 2018

A Viral Fake News Story Linked Trans Health Care to 'Thousands' of Deaths

A Viral Fake News Story Linked Trans Health Care to ‘Thousands’ of Deaths

Hormone blockers used by some transgender people have multiple uses, including treating prostate cancer in terminally ill patients.

To be clear: Lupron has been widely used in thousands of trans youth, and members of the Gender Dysphoria Affirmative Working Group are NOT AWARE OF ANY DEATHS attributable to Lupron use in trans and gender noxnbinary youth.

As people may have already seen, an ultra conservative Catholic website (Lifesite News) spread misleading news that some 6,300 deaths over 40 years were attributed to leuprolide acetate (Lupron), a medication also used as a puberty blocker in trans youth. Articles and other information released about this issue minimized or did not mention that Lupron is commonly used in palliative care for long-term and terminally ill cancer patients, and instead implied that this medication has been widely killing transgender youth. Multiple conservative outlets further distributed this story (including Breitbart and Daily Wire). We have become aware that parent groups have reported this article (and similar ones reflecting the same misinformation) being sent by "well meaning" relatives to parents of trans youth. We also are concerned that this issue will be used as a ‘talking point’ in other venues like school board meetings and such by those opposed to policies supporting trans youth.

Thus far only one article in mainstream journalism outlet has debunked this misleading press. The "good" article is linked below.

Sadly, we all may be obligated to push back against the further discrimination, hatred, and transphobia only encouraged by these stories. We encourage you to remember that affirmative care - including puberty blockers such as Lupron - have been demonstrated to have vastly improved outcomes for trans youth including dramatic decreases in depression, anxiety, substance use, school dropout, obesity, smoking rates, suicidal ideation and gestures.

“A recent article published by Catholic news outlet LifeSiteNews alleged that the drugs used to treat gender dysphoria in some transgender children are linked to “thousands” of deaths.

“The story went viral on right-wing news websites such as the Christian Postand the Daily Wire. According to CrowdTangle, a social media metric platform, these posts — including shares by Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiroand commentator Matt Walsh— are currently some of the top performing LGBTQ-related content on Facebook and Twitter.

“The problem is: the “thousands” of people who die while taking these drugs are likely the terminally ill cancer patients who receive hormone blockers to fight hormone-sensitive cancers, like prostate cancer, according to experts.”

Presentation by the WPATH Standards of Care 8 Child Chapter Working Group

On September 7, 2019, members of the Standards of Care Version 8 - Child Chapter Working Group delivered a presentation at the US Professional Association of Transgender Health conference in Washington DC. This presentation outlined a significant move toward far more affirming philosophies of care, which will appear in the upcoming SOC V8.

Find more information on Affirmative Care for transgender and gender noxnbinary youth and adolescents at our website:

And follow us on Facebook for regular updates: @gdaffirmative

As reported by community rapporteur Lotus Đào, and Dr. Asa Radix, Co-Chair of the SOC8 Review Committee, member of the Board of Directors of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health and the US Professional Association of Transgender Health:

On September 7th, 2019, members of the WPATH Standards of Care 8.0 Child Chapter Working Group presented on "Prepubescent Gender Diversity: Complexities and Recommendations." Presenters opened by sharing the working group's process and naming the complexity of working within a global context in an specialty with few expertise. Following a brief research summary, presenters established a foundation of child gender diversity as an expected aspect of general human diversity, rather than a pathology.

Furthermore, gender identity should not be conflated with gender expression. In fact, research indicates that many young children exhibiting extensive gender expansive behavior while feeling cohesive with their gender identity are likely to evolve to be gay or queer by adolescence, not transgender. In addition, gender identity is sometimes static, and sometimes fluid. Some children know from a very young age who they are and their gender identity is static throughout their lifetime. For other children, their gender identity may change over time. Presenters encouraged providers and community members to practice respect and sensitivity in honoring children where they are at and releasing the cultured need to predict a child's gender identity and presentation. In regards to the mental health provider's role in working with gender expansive children, presenters emphasized that gender expansive children should not be required to be in therapy. However, guidance from mental health providers are often helpful, especially if there are external stressors (family, school, region) or the child is interested in medical treatment.

The presenters provided recommendations for providers around advocacy, including educating and supporting gender diversity is expected and not pathological; acknowledging and addressing privilege and frequent intentional and/or unintentional negating of gender diverse experience; working in partnership with schools and childcare programs to sensitive educational providers to importance of gender affirmative practices to promote curricula; and more.

Presenters shared a much anticipated report of the SOC 8 Core Competency Recommendations, which are not finalized, including compenents on Training/Credentials, Gender Development, Child/Family Mental Health, Assessment, Therapuetic Interventions, Autism and Gender, Research Knowledge and Continuing Education. Ultimately, presenters urged attendees to promote gender literacy with gender expansive children, including identifying oppressive and violent environmental messaging around gender and critically examine whether or not it is authentic. Furthermore, presenters recommended providers to not fixate on pathology or force "transgender" onto gender expansive children, but to incorporate "play" and "fun" as important aspects of working with children.

Scientific American: Stop Using Phony Science to Justify Transphobia

An important overview and piece advocating for inclusivity from the prominent scientific journal Scientific American.

Published: June 13, 2019. Author Simón(e) D Sun.

“While this is a small overview, the science is clear and conclusive: sex is not binary, transgender people are real. It is time that we acknowledge this. Defining a person’s sex identity using decontextualized “facts” is unscientific and dehumanizing. The trans experience provides essential insights into the science of sex and scientifically demonstrates that uncommon and atypical phenomena are vital for a successful living system. Even the scientific endeavor itself is quantifiably better when it is more inclusive and diverse. So, no matter what a pundit, politician or internet troll may say, trans people are an indispensable part of our living reality.”

Getting Your Health Care Covered: a Guide for Transgender People

Not research, but a resource that could be quite useful in helping people access care… and we know that the ability to access care has a dramatic and positive effect on outcomes.

"Getting your insurance to cover the health care you need can be difficult. The good news is that it should be getting easier. Many insurance plans have gotten rid of exclusions that single out transgender people, and trans people are protected from public and private insurance discrimination under federal law and state laws, including in Medicaid and Medicare."

"But some insurance plans still make it hard to get coverage for transition-related health care, especially surgical care. "

"The most important thing to remember is that your insurance should cover transition-related care. However, you may need to show your insurance company why the treatment you need is medically necessary for you, with letters from your health care providers."

"If you are denied coverage or if your plan has an exclusion, you may also need to explain to your insurance company or employer why it is illegal discrimination to exclude medically necessary transition-related care."

"Use this guide to help you navigate the coverage process."