A January 2024 report purported to be an “examination of the data behind gender-affirming care” did not mention Utah by name. But a chart midway through the Definitive Healthcare report entitled “Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis Trends, 2018-2022, by State” claimed markedly high increases in gender dysphoria diagnoses in a subset of states, including Utah. 

States purportedly above a 100% increase in diagnoses include 11 states who voted for Biden in the 2020 election (Oregon, California, Colorado, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, Virginia, Georgia, as well as Washington, D.C.). But it also included nine Republican-leaning states (Wyoming, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Alaska) — with Utah surprisingly among the states with the highest increases. 

This, and the fact that neighboring states often had gender dysphoria diagnoses that were sharply lower by comparison, ought to have elicited some questions. Yet media outlets rapidly drew attention to the findings, with a Newsweek article published with the headline, “Republican States See Highest Surges in Gender Dysphoria” and Axios, “Utah’s gender dysphoria diagnoses rise sharply.” 

Local outlets quickly followed, positioning the results as a worrisome statement about Utah legislative priorities. “Utah has a growing demand for gender-affirming care, as lawmakers consider anti-LGBTQ bills,” one headline read.

The Definitive Healthcare report concluded, “Our medical claims data shows that gender dysphoria diagnoses are on the rise, and patients with these diagnoses are seeking mental health services in greater numbers than ever.”

The originator of the report, Massachusetts-based Definitive Healthcare, is a commercial data analysis organization with a mission to “help clients uncover the right markets, opportunities and people, so they can shape tomorrow’s healthcare industry.”

When the Deseret News tried to access the full report, in order to understand the full analysis, it was no longer available on the group’s website. 

A representative contacted for comment confirmed the report had been taken down. With the exception of Newsweek, which added an update at the top of its article, few media outlets have let readers know about the retraction.

Gender dysphoria diagnoses and transgender identification (which are distinct, but related) may still be on the rise in Utah and the United States. UCLA’s Williams Institute has tracked transgender identification during this same period, both in 2017 and also in 2022.  

While there is an increase in transgender identification during this period in Utah, the differences are more modest than the gender dysphoria estimates in the retracted Definitive Healthcare report (shifting fractions of a percentage, between .1 and .9%., depending on the age group). 

According to UCLA’s own analysis, these numbers haven’t shifted enormously. “Based on our estimates from 2016-2017 and the current report, the percentage and number of adults who identify as transgender has remained steady over time in the United States.”

Those differences that exist, they acknowledge, may be connected to methodological changes in how identification was measured — adjustments which allow “better data than was previously available to us for estimating the size and characteristics of the youth population.”

“Our estimates described in this report,” they say, “were made possible by advances in gender identity data collection over the past five years.”

According to this reliable data source, Utah is hardly an outlier among states. In comparison to other states, Utah’s 2022 estimates of transgender identity range between middle-of-the-pack —22nd (25-64) and 25th (18-24) — to falling in the lower quadrant: 41st (13-17) and 42nd (65+).

Back in 2021, the Deseret News likewise reported on a widely-promoted claim about a surprisingly high percentage of Latter-day Saints identifying as gay, which was likewise eventually retracted.