Sweden: 1,500 percent documented rise in gender dysphoria in teens since 2008

Sweden's flag is seen near the Stockholm Cathedral in Gamla Stan or the Old Town district of Stockholm, Sweden, June 9, 2010.
Sweden's flag is seen near the Stockholm Cathedral in Gamla Stan or the Old Town district of Stockholm, Sweden, June 9, 2010. | Reuters/Bob Strong

Mirroring other Western countries, the nation of Sweden has documented an astronomical rise in gender dysphoria diagnoses among teenagers in the past decade.

Between 2008 and 2018, the rate of teen girls ages 13 to 17 being diagnosed with gender dysphoria grew by approximately 1,500 percent, a report from Sweden's Board of Health and Welfare said, according to The Guardian.

The report follows backlash, which began in March, in the Scandinavian country after the government, heavily swayed by the Swedish LGBT group RFSL, proposed a new law in the fall of 2018 that would have lowered the age for medicalized gender treatments, scrapped parental consent, and permitted kids as young as 12 to change their gender on legal documents.

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In October, an investigative news program highlighted Stockholm’s Karolinska University hospital, which received criticism for performing double mastectomies on trans-identifying females as young as 14.

As has been the case in other gender identity medical outfits around the world, the Karolinska Institute was accused of hurriedly steering young people through the experimental practices without giving due consideration to other contributing factors to gender dysphoria and relevant psychiatric comorbidities. The Swedish center pushed back, asserting it was carefully reviewing every case.

Amid the allegations of the rushing of patients through the gender change process, including one from the father of a trans-identified person — who died by suicide four years after surgery — authorities ordered the Board of Health and Welfare to reassess the issue just before legislation that would lower the age for such treatments was about to be debated in parliament.

In December, the Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment reported that "there was very little research either into the reason for the increase or the risks or benefits of hormone treatment and surgery," The Guardian reported.

"The recent report from the Board of Health and Welfare also found that 32.4 percent of 13 to 17-year-olds with gender dysphoria registered at birth as women also had diagnoses for anxiety disorder, 28.9 percent had depression, 19.4 percent had ADHD, and 15.2 percent had autism."

Heightened state scrutiny to the medicalization of gender is presently appearing around the world.

In the U.S., the state of South Dakota recently attempted to ban such practices for minors but the legislation died in a Senate committee. A handful of other states have either introduced or are presently considering such measures.

Meanwhile, the lone gender clinic in the U.K., the Tavistock Centre, is facing a legal challenge as former psychological professionals from the National Health Service's Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) and a detransitioner assert the facility did not adequately explain the risks of the hormonal interventions to suffering people and that the drugs being used lack a robust evidence base.

In June, the trans-critical website TransgenderTrend documented that "in 2009/10 there were 32 girls and 40 boys referred to Tavistock GIDS. In 2011/12 the sex ratio reversed and the gap between boys and girls has continued to widen year on year ever since. The total number of referrals for 2018/19 in England alone is 624 boys and 1,740 girls. In less than a decade there has been a 1,460% increase in referrals of boys and a staggering 5,337% increase in girls."

The National Health Service announced earlier this month that it was both revisiting its rules around allowing children to take the experimental drugs without parental approval in addition to setting in motion a task force of doctors to scrutinize puberty-blocking agents being prescribed to gender-confused youth.

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