Evidence and Data on Trans Women’s Offending Rates
1. The Swedish Study
Cecilia Dhejne, Paul Lichtenstein, Marcus Boman, Anna L. V. Johansson, Niklas Långström, Mikael Landén (2011) Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons
Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden
Summary of findings
This Swedish cohort study by Dhejne et al. (2011) followed a population of individuals who had undergone surgical and legal sex reassignment involving hormonal and surgical
treatment between 1973 and 2003 (324 in total) and compared them to a matched control group of their birth sex. It is crucial to emphasise that this study looks only at those who have undergone hormonal and surgical transition, which is a much tighter group than individuals who self- identify as transgender.
The primary purpose of the study was to consider whether medical transition helps patients (leads to better social and health outcomes) and to inform what support they might need post transition. It is methodologically robust, peer reviewed, large scale
comparative source on offending rates comparing transwomen and women. It compared the likelihood of a person having one or more criminal convictions, and convictions for violent crime (defined as “homicide and attempted homicide, aggravated assault and
assault, robbery, threatening behaviour, harassment, arson, or any sexual offense”).
The study can be divided into two cohorts 1973-1988 and 1989-2003 with the difference being that the latter cohort received adequate mental health provision. The findings show that transsexual individuals were more likely to be criminal than non-transsexuals of the same birth sex in the first cohort (1973-1988), and no different from their birth sex in the second group (1989-2003).
The researchers state:
‘male-to-females . . . retained a male pattern regarding criminality. The same was true regarding violent crime.’
MtF transitioners were over 6 times more likely to be convicted of an offence than female comparators and 18 times more likely to be convicted of a violent offence. The group had no statistically significant differences from other natal males, for convictions in general or
for violent offending. The group examined were those who committed to surgery, and so were more tightly defined than a population based solely on self-declaration.