Transgender No Longer Listed as Disorder by World Health Organization

Jul 6, 2018 by

by Rebecca Oas, PhD, C-Fam:

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that its updated diagnostic manual would no longer classify “gender incongruence”—perceiving oneself to be of a different sex than what you were born—as a mental disorder.  A WHO spokeswoman insisted that while transgender advocacy was a factor, and that they made this decision based on scientific evidence.

The WHO has been working on updating its International Classification of Diseases, as the previous edition was published over two decades ago.  The forthcoming ICD-11 will be presented at the World Health Assembly next spring and become effective at the start of 2022.

In a move that had been anticipated for years, the WHO removed gender incongruence from its chapter on mental disorders and placed it in a newly-created chapter on sexual health.  While this new chapter also contains sexual disorders, gender incongruence is given its own section with no language that transgender activist groups have labeled as stigmatizing.

However, the inclusion of the category in the manual remains important, as the volume provides guidance to the international medical community on diagnoses and treatments.  Patients desiring to obtain sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy would still require a diagnosis for their insurance to potentially cover these treatments.

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