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WHO Declares Being A Transgender Person Is No Longer A Mental Disorder

'Gender incongruence' has been removed from the United Nations health agency's mental disorders chapter.

Cover image via Human Rights Watch

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that transgenderism is not a mental disorder

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via CNN

CNN reported that 'gender incongruence' – the term used to describe transgender people – has been removed from the WHO's mental disorders chapter in its health guidelines. It is now a part of the United Nations health agency's sexual health chapter

A new description for 'gender incongruence' reads, "Gender variant behaviour and preferences alone are not a basis" for diagnosing a person's mental health.

The change was voted in by the World Health Assembly, the governing body of WHO that represents 194 member states

The new classification appears in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), reported Time

CNN reported that the ICD-11, which was adopted on 25 May by the World Health Assembly in Geneva, is expected to go into full effect by 1 January, 2022. 

"The WHO's removal of 'gender identity disorder' from its diagnostic manual will have a liberating effect on transgender people worldwide," Human Rights Watch (HRW) LGBT rights director Graeme Reid said

LGBT rights director Graeme Reid

Image via Human Rights Watch

WHO revealed that 'gender incongruence' was removed from the mental disorders chapter as it is not a mental health condition

"We had a better understanding that this (gender incongruence) wasn't actually a mental health condition, and leaving it there was causing stigma," Dr. Lale Say, WHO coordinator of Adolescents and at-Risk Populations team, was quoted as saying by CNN. 

"In order to reduce the stigma while ensuring access to necessary health interventions, this was placed in a different chapter," Lale added. 

Dr. Lale Say

Image via WHO

Discriminatory policies against transgender people have been created by governments around the world based on the previous classification

A HRW report revealed that transgender people have had to go through diagnosis or other medical procedures before being recognised by the law. 

Countries have made a 'gender disorder' diagnosis mandatory before a transgender person can change his name and gender marker on official documents, according to HRW

For instance, Japan required transgender people to be sterilised before their new gender identity can be reflected on official documents, reported Time.

However, the outdated policy is set to be removed as Japan, as a UN member state, is responsible to put ICD-11 into practice.

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