Yet another study reveals worrying numbers of trans suicide and mortality rates

Person carries a large trans flag down the street

A long-term Danish study has found that trans people in the country experience higher rates of suicide and mortality. 

According to the study, which used data gathered on people aged 15 and older, between 1980 and 2021, trans people in Denmark had attempted to take their own lives at 7.7 times the rate of cisgender people, with the rate of death 3.5 times higher for trans people than their cisgender counterparts. 

Among the 3,759 survey participants who identified as transgender, there were 92 suicide attempts and 12 suicides between 1980 and 2021. However, researchers say the true numbers could be higher, because the records they used did not always capture a person’s gender identity.

Transgender people in Denmark also experience 1.9 times the rate of mortality unrelated to suicide and twice the rate of “all-cause” mortality, compared with non-transgender individuals. 

The study also found that trans people in Denmark have a statistically lower age of mortality compared with their cisgender peers. 

Dr Annette Erlangsen, who collected the data with the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, and Gentofte Hospitalsvej 15, said the data demonstrates that action is needed on trans mental health in the country.

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“We were aware that transgender individuals probably had a higher rate of suicide attempt and suicide, but this is, to our knowledge, the first time that we were able to calculate national rates,” she told Gay City News.

“[This] demonstrates that transgender individuals have excess risks of suicidal behaviour, and that we need to take action to prevent this.”

Erlangsen added that trans people who have suicidal thoughts “may be less inclined to seek help from existing psychiatric services because they do not want to have this on their patient record as it might lower probabilities for later treatment”.

Susanne Branner Jespersen, the head of the Secretariat of LGBT+ Denmark, a political organisation for queer people, added: “The figures indicate that there is a long way to go before we destigmatise what it means to be transgender.

“The current public debate about what it means to be transgender does not always promote understanding and compassion.”

‘A public health crisis’

An earlier American study found that half of trans and non-binary youth in the country had considered suicide in the past year, with five to 10 per cent of participants also revealing that they had been subjected to conversion therapy practices..

Another study by the same charity, The Trevor Project, found that a quarter of young Black trans and non-binary people in the US had attempted to end their own lives.

“Simply put, the mental health of Black transgender and non-binary young people is a public-health crisis,” the senior director of research science at The Trevor Project, Dr Myeshia Price, said.

“Immediate steps must be taken by educators, youth-serving adults and mental-health professionals to ensure that Black trans and non-binary young people feel seen, supported and protected against a world that so often brings them harm,” she added.

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact the Samaritans on 116 123 (, or Mind on 0300 123 3393 ( ​Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.