There is a popular myth going around that attempts to quote from this 2003 Swedish study:
People using this study do so selectively. Let me explain the statistical manipulation going on with gender surgery detractors and the myth they try to construct.
First they note that general population rates for suicidality are around 1.6% in the United States. Then they note that suicidality rates for post-op transsexual people are about 4.1%. They then claim that since this is “hundreds of percent higher” that surgery does not work.
But let’s talk about the reality. What is that reality? It is that the pre-op suicidality rate for transsexuals is 41%!!!
Yep, that’s right. Pre-op rates of suicidality for transsexuals are 1000% higher than post-op rates. How do we know this? From the UCLA Williams Institute study Suicide Attempts among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults. (Warning! PDF!)
And the Swedish study actually supports gender surgery. Their conclusion?
This study found substantially higher rates of overall mortality, death from cardiovascular disease and suicide, suicide attempts, and psychiatric hospitalisations in sex-reassigned transsexual individuals compared to a healthy control population. This highlights that post surgical transsexuals are a risk group that need long-term psychiatric and somatic follow-up. Even though surgery and hormonal therapy alleviates gender dysphoria, it is apparently not sufficient to remedy the high rates of morbidity and mortality found among transsexual persons. Improved care for the transsexual group after the sex reassignment should therefore be considered.
Note what is said very, very gently and in careful scientific language: “This highlights that post surgical transsexuals are a risk group that need long-term psychiatric and somatic follow-up.”
So what detractors are doing is selective statistical selection to “prove” their biased point. When we take the entire picture, we see that gender surgery actually reduces suicide rates to 1/10th of what they were pre-op. And, as the Swedish study concludes, what trans people need is more support, not because they are trans, but because too many people in society today are just ignorant assholes.