The transgender community has one more reason to celebrate after the World Health Organization (WHO) removed transgender health issue from the list of mental and behavioral disorders.
Being transgender will now be under a chapter on sexual health.
Both doctors and transgender advocates praised the move as it goes a long way towards removing the stigma associated with being transgender.
One WHO expert said the institution now recognizes that identifying as transgender is “not actually a mental health condition.”
Dr. Lale Say told the BBC, “It was taken out from mental health disorders because we had a better understanding that this was not actually a mental health condition, and leaving it there was causing stigma.
“So in order to reduce the stigma, while also ensuring access to necessary health interventions, this was placed in a different chapter.”
In the WHO’s latest manual, the ICD-11, gender incongruence refers to the persistent and obvious incongruence between a person’s born sex and experienced gender.
ICD-10, which was the previous version, being transgender was classified as a gender identity disorder filed under mental and behavioral disorders.
The change is anticipated as a “liberating effect worldwide,” according to the Human Rights Watch.
Graeme Reid, the LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch, said, “Governments should swiftly reform national medical systems and laws that require this now officially outdated diagnosis.”
The trans community also celebrated the re-classification as a victorious milestone.
In a joint statement, nine international organizations for gender identity advocacy said: “It has taken us a long time to get here. Until a few years ago, removing pathologizing categories affecting trans and gender diverse people from the ICD-10 list of mental disorders seemed impossible.
“Today, we know that full depathologisation can be achieved and will be achieved in our lifetime.
“Although placement in this chapter is an improvement, it is by no means perfect. For example, it is somewhat reductive to define trans health as related only to sexual health.”
Other countries will need to put the changes in place by January 2022.
Proposals to change the diagnostic manual were first proposed last year with the measure being approved last Saturday at the World Health Assembly.
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