World Health Organization Removes Transgenderism From List Of Mental Disorders
The World Health Organization no longer classifies trans and gender diverse identities as a mental disorder…
The World Health Organization has officially removed transgenderism from the International Classification of Disease. On Monday, June 18, the specialized agency of the United Nations made a progressive step forward in reclassifying trans-related issues in a new chapter entitled ‘Conditions Related to Sexual Health.’
The new classification of ‘Gender Incongruence’ is waiting for approval from UN member countries, which will be discussed at The World Health Assembly in Geneva in May 2019. If the document is approved, it will be enforced as of January 1st, 2022.
Previous documents categorized transgenderism under the chapter ‘Mental and Behavioral Disorders.’
Dr. Lale Say, the Coordinator for the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO, said the move is anticipating the reduction in stigma and to aim for social acceptance of the transgender community, worldwide. Dr. Say also mentioned that doctors and insurers reference the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases catalogue to determine medical coverage, which may increase trans-peoples’ access to healthcare.
New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission spokesperson Taine Polkinghorne commended WHO’s updated document, stating:
“This is fantastic news. It will be crucial in reducing the stigma around trans and gender diverse people… Belonging to the trans or gender diverse community does not equate to having a mental disorder. We should not be pathologised nor discriminated against.”
The Human Rights Commission conducted a study in 2008, which found transgender people in New Zealand experience discrimination, stigmatisation and marginalisation at a far higher rate than others.
A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom by Crossland Employment Solicitors also showed that employers strongly discriminate against transgender workers. The report found that one in three employers would be “less likely” to hire transgender employees, with a staggering 43% claiming they are unsure. Of the 1000 employers who were surveyed, only three per cent implement an equality procedure, which welcomes transgender peoples to apply for jobs.
Despite a lack of support for transgender peoples in numerous countries, nations such as France and Denmark have already removed transgenderism from their list of mental disorders. The WHO is optimistic that the new document will continue to encourage acceptance of the transgender community in places where transphobia is still widespread.