Research we're watching
Gender-affirming surgery produces numerous benefits, according to a study by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. These include better mental health, a reduction in suicidal thoughts, and reduced rates of smoking. The study, published online April 28, 2021, by JAMA Surgery, drew on the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, which was answered by more than 27,000 transgender and gender-diverse adults. Its goal was to identify whether people who underwent gender-affirming surgeries had better mental health outcomes than those who didn’t. The researchers wanted to study this issue because the number of gender-affirming surgeries is rising in the United States, and there is limited information about how people fare in the wake of these procedures. The researchers compared people who had undergone one or more types of gender-affirming surgery in the past two years and people who said they wanted to undergo surgery but hadn’t yet. They found that those who had surgery had a 42% reduction in psychological distress, 35% reduction in cigarette smoking in the past year, and a 44% lower likelihood of having thoughts of suicide. The study authors said that the findings provide more support for gender-affirming surgical care.
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