Transgender people, particularly those with nonbinary/other identities, have greater odds of reporting most substance use outcomes than cisgender women.
This is according to a study – “Differences in Alcohol and Other Drug Use and Dependence Between Transgender and Cisgender Participants from the 2018 Global Drug Survey” by Dean J. Connolly, Emma Davies, Michael Lynskey, Larissa J. Maier, Jason A. Ferris, Monica J. Barratt, Adam R. Winstock, and Gail Gilchrist – that appeared in LGBT Health.
This study hoped to compare five gender groups (cisgender women, cisgender men, transgender women, transgender men, people with nonbinary/other identities) on measures of use of and dependence on seven substances.
To achieve this, a two-stage approach to assessing gender allowed 126,648 participants from the 2018 Global Drug Survey (GDS) to be classified to one of these five gender groups. Participants were asked to disclose use of each substance in the preceding 12 months. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test and the Severity of Dependence Scale were used to assess dependence. Multivariable logistic regression generated odds ratios (ORs) to measure the association between gender and each substance use/dependence outcome, with cisgender women as the reference group.
The sample comprised 43,331 cisgender women, 81,607 cisgender men, 215 transgender women, 254 transgender men, and 1241 people with nonbinary/other identities. And the study found that, relative to cisgender women, nonbinary/other participants reported greater odds of last 12-month use of all substances (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.66–2.93), except alcohol (lower odds; AOR = 0.42), and greater odds of dependence on cannabis (AOR = 2.39), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (AOR = 1.64) and alcohol (AOR = 3.28), adjusting only for age (all p < 0.05).
With transgender people – particularly those with nonbinary/other identities – having greater odds of reporting most substance use outcomes than cisgender women, “the findings suggest that a nuanced approach to gender reporting in surveys and treatment centers is required to understand the needs of transgender people who use substances,” the researchers stated.