Does Sex Reassignment Make People Happy?

What Would You Say?

You’re in a conversation and someone says “if you deny people sex reassignment surgery, they’re going to kill themselves. Is that what you want?” What would you say? First, it’s important to recognize what they’re trying to say. They care about people. They want them to be happy. That’s something we have in common. But the question to be asked is, “Does sex-reassignment surgery make people happy?” Here’s three things to remember. First, the evidence suggests sex reassignment surgery doesn’t make people happy. There is no long-term study indicating that sex reassignment surgery provides long-term improvements to quality of life. Some studies say people are happy with the surgery in the short-term, and like the way they look, but it doesn’t improve their lives overall. A Swedish study of 324 transsexuals concluded that after sex-reassignment surgery, patients had a considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behavior, and psychiatric problems than the general population. Another study found that those who have sex reassignment surgery are 19 times more likely than the general public to commit suicide. This is tragic. Second, gender dysphoria is real, but it may be a symptom and not a cause. It’s impossible to identify a single reason why gender dysphoria exists and how to help people who struggle with it. However, in light of the significant evidence that sex-reassignment does not resolve long-term mental distress, we need to be willing to consider that the real problem lies elsewhere. If so, these experimental surgeries only treat symptoms, and not the actual cause of the pain. Third, 80% of children with gender dysphoria will outgrow it. Research on both sides of this issue support this finding. It may be that the rush of testosterone or estrogen during puberty makes gender dysphoria go away. But consider this. If gender dysphoria is temporary, and people who undergo sex reassignment are 19 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population, why would we encourage children to join a category that puts them at a much higher risk of self-harm? We shouldn’t. Let’s review. We should want people to be happy with who they are. But the science indicates that sex reassignment doesn’t accomplish that. Sex-reassignment treats symptoms, and not the real source of pain. And we should never push children into a higher risk of self-harm.