Self-harm and suicidal thoughts higher among transgender people in the UK than in Ireland

Posted on | December 2, 2013 by Rebecca Oas, Ph.D |

 A recent study found that 78% of transgender people in Ireland have considered suicide, and news sources are using this finding to call attention to Ireland’s lack of a law recognizing gender identity.  As the Irish Times points out:

“Transgender people have a gender identity or expression different to the one they were born with. They are not legally recognised in Ireland – Ireland is the last State in Europe not to allow transgender people to have their birth certificate reissued in their preferred gender, although Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has committed to such legislation.”

The Irish study was modeled after a similar one published last year in the UK.

This UK study  reported that 84% of transgender participants had contemplated suicide and 53% had engaged in some form of self-harm.  In comparison, the Irish transgender study reported a suicide contemplation rate of 78%, and a 44% rate of self-harm.

The UK passed its Gender Recognition Act in 2004.

News outlets frequently point out that Irish study has its basis in the previous report (PDF).  According to co-author Dr. Sonja Ellis:

“This report, like its UK counterpart – The UK Trans Mental Health Study 2012 – is the only report to comprehensively provide an indication of the mental health and wellbeing of the trans population.”

Indications, like statistics, require context.  However poor the mental health metrics might be for transgender people in Ireland, they could still be worse – just look at the UK.  But you won’t find that in the leading news reports.



Turtle Bay and Beyond is a blog covering international law, policy and institutions. Our experts - at the UN, European Institutions, and elsewhere - explore an authentic understanding of international law, sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. We expose those who would seek to impose a radical social vision that is contrary to these principles.


RSS Feed

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Recent Articles

  • Categories

  • Authors