A recent report from Sweden’s Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) has confirmed that gender dysphoria diagnoses rose 1,500% between 2008 and 2018 among teen girls ages 13 to 17.
The report also revealed that 32.4% of the 13- to 17-year-olds diagnosed with gender dysphoria suffer from an anxiety disorder, while 28.9% are clinically depressed, 19.4% have been diagnosed with ADHD, and 15.2% are autistic, according to The Guardian.
A report published by the Swedish Agency for Health and Technology Assessment in December said that “there was very little research either into the reason for the increase or the risks or benefits of hormone treatment and surgery.”
This new data follows a shift in public opinion over the last few years concerning gender reassignment procedures for young Swedes.
In the fall of 2018, the country’s social democrat government—under pressure from the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights—proposed a new law that would reduce the minimum age for sex-reassignment medical care from 18 to 15, remove all need for parental consent and allow children as young as 12 to legally change their gender identification.
The legislation was to be debated in September, but experts began to publicly question the lack of research behind the bill.
Last March, Christopher Gillberg, a psychiatrist at Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy, wrote an article for the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, in which he called hormone treatments and gender-reassignment surgery a “big experiment.”
Additionally, Uppdrag Granskning, an investigative TV program, aired a documentary in October featuring Stockholm’s Karolinska University Hospital. The broadcast acknowledged that the hospital has been criticized for performing double mastectomies on children as young as 14. It has also been accused of failing to consider psychiatric or developmental issues as possible root causes of a patient’s gender dysphoria.
Filter magazine also profiled the case of Jennifer Ring, a 32-year-old woman who committed suicide four years after she received gender reassignment surgery at Karolinska University Hospital. According to her father, Avi Ring, the first clinic Jennifer approached refused to treat her, citing signs of schizophrenia. But the team at Karolinska agreed to go ahead with the procedure.
“Karolinska [doesn’t] stop anyone; virtually 100% get sex reassignment,” said Avi Ring.
In response to the backlash, the Swedish government shelved the proposed legislation and ordered the Board of Health and Welfare to review all the data associated with the bill before moving forward. The board’s report is due March 31.
Above: A gay flag is displayed in the city of Stockholm, Sweden.
Photo: michelmond/Alamy Stock Photo