Limited prior research suggests that transgender and gender diverse (TGD) people may have higher mortality rates than cisgender people.
To estimate overall and cause-specific mortality among TGD persons compared with cisgender persons.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This population-based cohort study used data from general practices in England contributing to the UK’s Clinical Practice Research Datalink GOLD and Aurum databases. Transfeminine (assigned male at birth) and transmasculine (assigned female at birth) individuals were identified using diagnosis codes for gender incongruence, between 1988 and 2019, and were matched to cisgender men and women according to birth year, practice, and practice registration date and linked to the Office of National Statistics death registration. Data analysis was performed from February to June 2022.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Cause-specific mortality counts were calculated for categories of disease as defined by International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision chapters. Overall and cause-specific mortality rate ratios (MRRs) were estimated using Poisson models, adjusted for index age, index year, race and ethnicity, Index of Multiple Deprivation, smoking status, alcohol use, and body mass index.
A total of 1951 transfeminine (mean [SE] age, 36.90 [0.34] years; 1801 White [92.3%]) and 1364 transmasculine (mean [SE] age, 29.20 [0.36] years; 1235 White [90.4%]) individuals were matched with 68 165 cisgender men (mean [SE] age, 33.60 [0.05] years; 59 136 White [86.8%]) and 68 004 cisgender women (mean [SE] age, 33.50 [0.05] years; 57 762 White [84.9%]). The mortality rate was 528.11 deaths per 100 000 person-years (102 deaths) for transfeminine persons, 325.86 deaths per 100 000 person-years (34 deaths) for transmasculine persons, 315.32 deaths per 100 000 person-years (1951 deaths) for cisgender men, and 260.61 deaths per 100 000 person-years (1608 deaths) for cisgender women. Transfeminine persons had a higher overall mortality risk compared with cisgender men (MRR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.06-1.68) and cisgender women (MRR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.27-2.01). For transmasculine persons, the overall MMR was 1.43 (95% CI, 0.87-2.33) compared with cisgender men and was 1.75 (95% CI, 1.08-2.83) compared with cisgender women. Transfeminine individuals had lower cancer mortality than cisgender women (MRR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.32-0.83) but an increased risk of external causes of death (MRR, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.05-3.50). Transmasculine persons had higher mortality from external causes of death than cisgender women (MRR, 2.77; 95% CI, 1.15-6.65). Compared with cisgender men, neither transfeminine nor transmasculine adults had a significantly increased risk of deaths due to external causes.
Conclusions and Relevance
In this cohort study of primary care data, TGD persons had elevated mortality rates compared with cisgender persons, particularly for deaths due to external causes. Further research is needed to examine how minority stress may be contributing to deaths among TGD individuals to reduce mortality.