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always read the study

Mon 09 February 2015 — filed under rhetoric

At The Public Discourse (before launching into a pretty tendentious Natural Law “explanation” of transgender) Carlos D. Flores writes:

Those in favor of transgenderism also (naturally) support gender-reassignment surgery as a perfectly legitimate medical procedure for individuals (including children) with gender dysphoria. Now, put to one side the fact that 70-80 percent of children who report having transgender feelings come to lose such feelings. Ignore, for the moment, the fact that individuals who undergo gender reassignment surgery are 20 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. Instead consider the following question: Can we reasonably categorize gender reassignment surgery as a medical procedure in the first place?

A skeptic like myself says, “Twenty times more likely? Sounds fishy.” We click the link, read the underlying study, and find that it states [emphasis added]:

For the purpose of evaluating the safety of sex reassignment in terms of morbidity and mortality, however, it is reasonable to compare sex reassigned persons with matched population controls. The caveat with this design is that transsexual persons before sex reassignment might differ from healthy controls (although this bias can be statistically corrected for by adjusting for baseline differences). It is therefore important to note that the current study is only informative with respect to transsexuals persons health after sex reassignment; no inferences can be drawn as to the effectiveness of sex reassignment as a treatment for transsexualism. In other words, the results should not be interpreted such as sex reassignment per se increases morbidity and mortality. Things might have been even worse without sex reassignment. As an analogy, similar studies have found increased somatic morbidity, suicide rate, and overall mortality for patients treated for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This is important information, but it does not follow that mood stabilizing treatment or antipsychotic treatment is the culprit.

I suppose I should commend Flores’ honesty in linking to the study, even though it directly states that it shouldn’t be used for the purpose to which he puts it. © ted whalen Powered by Pelican and tufte-css. Icons by Font Awesome and Font Awesome More