The World Health Organization No Longer Considers Transgender People As Having a Mental Illness

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After categorizing video game addiction as a mental health problem, the World Health Organization ruled out gender dysphoria as being a mental illness.

Instead of seeing gender incongruence as a mental illness, they now consider it a sexual health condition.

The change was released this week, and it can be found in the International Classification of Disease (ICD-11).

Lale Say, MD, is the coordinator of the adolescents and at-risk populations team at the WHO, and stated:

“We had better understanding that this wasn’t actually a mental health condition and leaving it there was causing stigma. In order to reduce the stigma while also insuring access to necessary health interventions, this was placed to a different chapter.”

The ICD is a database with codes for diseases or health concerns that all doctors, nurses, researchers, health insurers, and patent organization can use. Keeping gender incongruence in the ICD-11, but moving it into a different chapter will allow trans people get access to health care (surgery, hormones, and other treatments).

Reducing Stigma And Improving Health Care

The change will hopefully help trans people be accepted, and they will be able to seek better health care to improve their health, says Dr. Say:

“Removing gender incongruence from [the] mental health chapter is expected to reduce stigma and will help better social acceptance of individuals living with gender incongruence.”

Dr. Say explained that in the beginning, homosexuality was categorized as a mental health condition in the early versions of ICD, but the newest edition has completely removed it: “based on scientific understanding that there was no clear evidence that this issue needs to be medicalized.”

The American Psychiatric Association has removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but it still includes gender incongruence. However, they might follow the World Health Organization’s lead.

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Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.


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