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World Health Organisation removes transgender from mental disorders

The World Health Organisation has officially removed being transgender from its list of mental health disorders.

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The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) has been updated for the first time in 18 years and for the first time being transgender has been moved out of the mental health category.

The World Health Organisation says gender incongruence should not be classified as a mental illness.

“The rationale being that while evidence is now clear that it is not a mental disorder, and indeed classifying it in this can cause enormous stigma for people who are transgender.” the organisation said as it announced the release of the new guidelines.

Under the new version of the codes, being transgender will be classified under sexual health rather than mental health. The World Health Organisation says transgender people have significant health needs and these are best approached as a sexual health issue.

Dr Lale Say, the organisation’s Coordinator for the Department of Reproductive Health and Research said medical professionals now have a better understanding of gender conditions.

“It was taken out of mental health because we know have better understanding that this wasn’t actually a mental health condition, and leaving it there was causing stigma.” Dr Say said.

The new codes will be presented at the World Health Forum next year, and are expected to be used from 2022.

Some countries however may take many years to implement the new codes into their health systems. The tenth version of the health codes was presented at a forum in 1990 and Thailand became the first country to adopt the codes in 1994.

The United States only began using the current version of the codes in 2015, a decade and a half after it was first presented. Some countries are still using the eighth version of the codes – which are from the 1970s.

The World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its mental health classifications in 1990. The date is now celebrated as IDAHoBIT Day.

OIP Staff


 

 

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