Transgender adults who receive medical treatments for gender transition experience improved quality of life, self-esteem, confidence and relationship satisfaction and decreased anxiety, depression, suicidality and substance use, according to a literature review from the What We Know Project, an initiative of the Center for the Study of Inequality at Cornell University.
“This research review demonstrates a strong scholarly consensus that, with proper diagnosis and adequate support, individuals with gender dysphoria can be effectively treated and function normally,” Nathaniel Frank, PhD, the project director, told Endocrine Today.
Frank and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 56 peer-reviewed studies of primary research on gender transition and transgender well-being. Studies included adults with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria who transitioned or identify as transgender; interventions included accepted medical treatments, such as hormone therapy and surgical procedures, for gender dysphoria recognized by the Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender and Gender-nonconforming Individuals maintained by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (version 7, 2001).
In 93% of the studies, the research indicated high overall well-being and mental health status among participants who transitioned, with 0.3% to 3.8% of participants indicating regret. “Regrets following gender transition are extremely rare and have become even rarer as both surgical techniques and social support have improved,” the researchers wrote in the study summary online.
Social and family support before and after treatment, and mental health support and follow-up are key factors in successful treatment for gender dysphoria, according to the researchers.
“Transgender people are not mentally ill or confused; like the rest of us, they simply need access to good health care to thrive,” Frank said. – by Jill Rollet
What We Know website. What does the scholarly research say about the effect of gender transition on transgender well-being? 2018. Available at: whatweknow.inequality.cornell.edu/topics/lgbt-equality/what-does-the-scholarly-research-say-about-the-well-being-of-transgender-people/.
Disclosure: Frank reports no relevant financial disclosures.