Transgender People Will No Longer Be Labeled Mentally Ill

The World Health Organization will be changing its classifications.

As of Monday this week, the World Health Organization has released an updated International Classification of Diseases (ICD) catalog, stating that gender incongruence (where people feel their gender identity doesn't align with the gender they were born with), should no longer fall under the mental disorders umbrella but can fall into the sexual health chapter instead. 

This change in classification will be presented at the World Health Assembly next year and the change will be officially enacted on January 1st, 2022. This shift is a major boon for the transgender community because it will change the global perception of transgender people and remove the stigma surrounding it. Dr. Lale Say, a WHO coordinator, adds that this move was made because "we have a better understanding that this wasn't actually a mental health condition", and explains, "in order to reduce the stigma this was placed in a different chapter." 

The LGBT community has expressed their approval of this shift, especially since the old classification had "contributed to the discrimination, harassment, criminalization, and abuse", according to Julia Ehrt, Executive Director of Transgender Europe. The organization will be changing their description of gender incongruence adding that "gender variant behavior and preferences are not a basis for diagnosing mental health". They hope that this change will also encourage people to seek treatment and create a more open dialogue. 


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