World Health Organisation drops transgender mental disorder list

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World Health Organisation drops transgender mental disorder list



Landmark legislation could change trans lives for the better. (Picture:John and Lisa Merrill)The World Health Organisation (WHO) has passed legislation that will no longer categorise being transgender as a mental health condition.
The move has been said to have the potential to ‘liberate’ trans and non-binary people worldwide, making the route to legal transition draw closer.
The decision was approved on Friday 25 May by the World Health Assembly, the WHO governing body that represents 194 member states, and should trickle down to national policies.
However, an evolving scientific understanding of gender and numerous advocates and transgender activists around the world speaking up for the lives of trans people have been key in seeing this result.
Graeme Reid, LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch said: ‘The WHO’s removal of “gender identity disorder” from its diagnostic manual will have a liberating effect on transgender people worldwide.
‘Governments should swiftly reform national medical systems and laws that require this now officially outdated diagnosis.’
While mental health issues play no part in a person’s gender identity, Graeme Reid said that oppression of trans people can cause suffering.

The advocacy and activism continues. (Picture: Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images)He said: ‘Transgender people are fighting stigma and discrimination that can be traced in part to medical systems that have historically diagnosed expressions of gender non-conformity as a mental pathology.
‘But it’s the stigma, discrimination, and bullying—and not anything inherent in gender nonconformity—that can inflict mental health problems in transgender people.’
And this is supported by Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist whose work deals with sexuality and gender.
He said:’There is substantial evidence that the stigma associated with the intersection of transgender status and mental disorders contributes to precarious legal status, human rights violations and barriers to appropriate health care for this population.’
This may be a milestone, but there is still quite a way to go.
According to Transgender Europe, in the UK people require a mental health diagnosis in order to change a person’s gender marker.
A consultation was carried out in 2018 as the Government pledged to reform the Gender Recognition Act which could remove this requirement.
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Many groups have campaigned for the UK to follow the lead of countries including Norway, Ireland, France, Portugal and Greece which permit individuals to self-identify their gender.

The United States laws on trans matters vary from State to State. (Photo by Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images)Meanwhile in the States, trans rights vary from state to state.
In California, people can apply for a new ID card or driver’s licence through self-certification. At the other end of the spectrum, states including Ohio will not change a person’s gender on their birth certificate under any circumstance.
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