Thursday 22 March 2018

WHO moves closer to declassifying transgender identity as a 'mental disorder'

Stock photo
Stock photo

Cian Murray

The World Health Organisation has moved closer to removing transgender identity from its global list of mental disorders, thanks to a new international study.

Two of the world’s leading diagnostic manuals, the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the American Psychiatric Association still class transgender identification as a mental disorder.

In what is an important signifier of acceptance for the community, a new study published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal is arguing against this classification.

The study revealed that distress and issues of dysfunction were caused by social rejection more than they were by gender issues.

Dr Professor Geoffrey Reed, who was the leading author from the study, said: “Stigma associated with both mental disorder and transgender identity has contributed to the precarious legal status, human rights violations and barriers to appropriate care among transgender people.”

The study, which involved 250 transgender individuals being interviewed, is now being replicated in several other countries, including France, India and South Africa.

Thanks to this and several other studies, a WHO Working Group has recommended that transgender identity is removed from its list of mental disorders.

Despite this, it could still be two years until the classification is revised in the 2018 edition of the WHO's International Classification of Diseases.  

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