Contrary to what many people, including the U.S. president, appear to believe, transgender people are not basket cases unable to function in difficult jobs. They are human beings who lead happy, productive lives, writes Emma Teitel.
Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to bar “transgender individuals” from serving in the U.S. military because in his mind, they “burden” an institution that “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory.” This year, the U.S. Department of Defence appeared to reiterate this odious assessment when it wrote in a memorandum to the president that there are “substantial risks associated with allowing the accession and retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria and require, or have already undertaken, a course of treatment to change their gender.”
Both parties, it turns out, couldn’t be more wrong. They aren’t just wrong in a strictly moral sense. They are wrong, according to a new study published by Cornell University, in a practical sense, too. It turns out that contrary to what many lawmakers appear to believe, transgender people are not basket cases unable to function in difficult jobs. They are human beings who lead happy, productive lives, not in spite of the “course of treatment” they may undergo but, often, precisely because of it.
According to the Cornell study, “gender transition is effective in treating gender dysphoria and can significantly improve the well-being of transgender individuals. Among the positive outcomes of gender transition and related medical treatments for transgender individuals are improved quality of life, greater relationship satisfaction, higher self-esteem and confidence, and reductions in anxiety, depression, suicidality, and substance use.”
The study analyzed 56 individual peer-reviewed studies about gender transition dating back to 1991 and discovered that 93 per cent of those “found that transition improves the overall well-being of transgender people,” while only 7 per cent “report mixed or null findings.” How many of the studies concluded that gender transition causes overall harm? Zero. This makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Living a lie hurts. Living honestly helps.
The Cornell study is extremely important for obvious reasons. For starters, its results fly in the face of the Trumpian view that transgender people are mentally ill outcasts who can’t find peace of mind, let alone keep their cool in the military. But the study is extremely important for another, less obvious reason. Simply put, it’s good news. And good news is hard to come by when it has the word “transgender” in it.