Analysis finds strong consensus on gender transition treatment effectiveness
A new analysis conducted by researchers at the What We Know Project (WWKP), an initiative of Cornell University’s Center for the Study of Inequality (CSI), reviewed more than twenty-five years of scholarship on transgender mental health and found a strong consensus that undergoing gender transition can improve transgender well-being.
The year-long review screened over 4,000 studies and identified 56 that assessed whether gender transition improves the mental well-being of transgender individuals. The analysis concluded that 93% of the studies found positive effects of gender transition, indicating “a robust international consensus in the peer-reviewed literature that gender transition, including medical treatments such as hormone therapy and surgeries, improves the overall well-being of transgender individuals.”
The findings could play a role in a renewed debate about the fitness and health of transgender service members. The Pentagon has moved recently to reinstitute a transgender service ban based on claims of “uncertainty” about the science of treatment for gender dysphoria.
“Among researchers who have studied gender transition, there is little doubt that it improves the well-being of transgender people, often markedly,” said Nathaniel Frank, director of the What We Know Project, and co-lead, with researcher Kellan Baker, of the online study. “A consensus like this is rare in social science.” Frank said their analysis confirms earlier findings that reflect near unanimity of opinion by experts on treatment of gender dysphoria. “Just like anyone else,” he said, “with access to adequate health care, transgender people can excel at life and at work.”
Among the findings of the analysis are the following:
WWKP aggregates and summarizes scholarly research on topics relating to social, economic and political inequality. Kim Weeden, chair of the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences, serves as faculty director, as well as director of CSI, a research center that supports nonpartisan, academic research on the patterns, causes, and consequences of social and economic inequality.
An op-ed on this analysis appeared in the New York Times.