WHO Removes Transgender People From the Category of ‘Mentally Ill’
The World Health Organisation has dropped ‘transgender’ from their category of mental disorders.
The World Health Organisation has dropped ‘transgender’ from their category of mental disorders.(Photo: iStockphoto)

WHO Removes Transgender People From the Category of ‘Mentally Ill’

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will now no longer classify ‘transgender’ as a mental disorder.

On 25 May, the World Health Assembly voted to adopt the latest amendment to it’s global list of diagnoses, where the category of ‘gender incongruence’ – WHO’s term for transgender – has moved from the mental disorders chapter to the new category of sexual health.

“It was taken out as we have a better understanding that this wasn't a mental health condition, and leaving it there was causing stigma,” said Dr Lale Say, WHO’s coordinator on Adolescents and at-Risk Populations on the decision.

In order to reduce stigma, while also ensuring access to necessary health interventions, transgender/gender incongruence was placed in sexual health.
Lale Say, WHO

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WHO announced that they were making the change back in 2018, reported a CNN article.

It will go into effect on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) on 1 January 2022.

This move has been spurred on by the consistent efforts of LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming activists who have worked towards garnering greater acceptance for the community.

“The WHO’s removal of ‘gender identity disorder’ from its diagnostic manual will have a liberating effect on transgender people worldwide,” said Graeme Reid, LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch on the news.

World Health Assembly Meeting in Geneva to Discuss Global Healthcare

Currently, 172 member states of the WHO are meeting for the 72nd World Health Assembly from May 20-28.

With a theme of ‘Universal Health Coverage: Leaving No-One Behind’, the Assembly has been discussing improvements in global health that include prioritising patient safety, universal healthcare for migrants and staying united to tackle the Ebola epidemic.

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