Transgender and Gender Diverse Adults Experience Elevated Mortality Rates
, by Maura Kate Costello, M.A.
Transgender and gender diverse (TGD) people often experience discrimination and marginalization, which puts them at greater risk for poor health outcomes and mortality, however research has been limited. In a large cohort study, investigators found that TGD adults were at increased risk of overall mortality compared to cisgender adults. Findings were published in the journal JAMA Network Open on January 30, 2023.
Sarah Jackson, Ph.D., independent research scholar in the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch, and colleagues analyzed data from the UK’s Clinical Practice Datalink, a primary care database, to estimate overall and cause-specific mortality among 6,603 TGD adults compared to 136,169 cisgender adults. They observed an elevated risk of overall mortality compared to cisgender people, due to external causes of death (e.g. suicides, homicides, and accidental poisonings), endocrine disorders, and other ill-defined and unspecified causes.
With regard to cancer mortality, transfeminine individuals (assigned male at birth) had decreased risk of death from cancer compared to cisgender women but the same as cisgender men. Transmasculine individuals (assigned female at birth) experienced a comparable risk of death from cancer to that of cisgender individuals. More research is needed to examine incidence of cancer and cancer-specific mortality among TGD individuals.
This study highlights the need to develop interventions, such as mental health and social support, to prevent suicide and violence among TGD persons. Future research should focus on such interventions as well.
Jackson SS, et al. Analysis of Mortality Among Transgender and Gender Diverse Adults in England. JAMA Netw Open. January 2023.