The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on Monday that being transgender will no longer be classified as a mental illness, in a move that has been hailed as a “very strong message.”
In the long-awaited and welcome change, the UN health agency confirmed that there is no evidence that gender incongruence is a mental disorder as they revised their International Classification for Diseases (ICD), and say that the release of this information should help combat the stigma that trans people face.
The report states: “Gender incongruence, meanwhile, has also been moved out of mental disorders in the ICD, into sexual health conditions.
“The rationale being that while evidence is now clear that it is not a mental disorder, and indeed classifying it in this can cause enormous stigma for people who are transgender, there remain significant health care needs that can best be met if the condition is coded under the ICD.”
Geoffrey Reed, the psychologist coordinating the mental health and behaviour sections of the ICD, added that trans people will be able to access more appropriate care easily than they previously may have done.
He said: “The intention is to reduce barriers to care.”