World Health Organisation drops transgender from list of mental health disorders

Kathmandu (Pahichan) May 28 – In a move that many hope will “liberate” trans and non-binary people, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has passed legislation which no longer categorises being transgender as a mental health disorder.

The decision was made on Friday May 25 by WHO’s governing body, the World Health Assembly.

“The World Health Organisation’s removal of ‘gender identity disorder’ from its diagnostic manual will have a liberating effect on transgender people worldwide,” said Graeme Reid, LGBTIQ+ rights director at Human Rights Watch.

“Governments should swiftly reform national medical systems and laws that require this now officially outdated diagnosis.”

He added: “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.”

However, it wasn’t all good news, with intersex advocates slamming WHO for its updated International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which includes language describing intersex variations as “disorders of sex development.”

joint statement from 65 intersex groups and organisations insists the language “will cause continuing harm to people born with variations of sex characteristics.”

The statement adds that “some current materials in the ICD-11 Foundation are associated with medical procedures that fail to meet human rights norms,” referencing surgeries commonly performed on intersex children.

Additionally, gaming communities were up in arms after WHO included “gaming addiction” as an official illness for the first time.

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