"We had a better understanding, that this wasn't actually a mental health condition and leaving it there was causing stigma,” a WHO official said.

Finally WHO recognises that being transgender is not a mental illnessWHO
news Gender Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 17:20

Years after discourse surrounding gender incongruence has evolved, the World Health Organisation declassified it as a mental health problem. It has now moved being transgender to sexual health conditions.

The organisation defines ‘gender incongruence’ as a person’s experienced gender being different from their assigned sex. Up until now, the WHO classified transgender persons as ‘mentally ill’.

This came after the WHO released the 11th catalog of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

“The rationale being that while evidence is now clear that it is not a mental disorder, and indeed classifying it in this way 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,” the WHO said on its website.

Dr Lale Say, the coordinator for the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO, said, "It was taken out from the mental health disorders because we had a better understanding that this wasn't actually a mental health condition and leaving it there was causing stigma. So, in order to reduce the stigma while also ensuring access to necessary health interventions, this was placed in a different chapter.”

“Removing gender incongruence from the mental health chapter is expected to reduce stigma and will help better social acceptance of individuals living with gender incongruence,” she added.

ICD-11 will be submitted to the World Health Assembly, WHO's legislative body, in January 2019 and will come into effect from January 1, 2022.

The International Classification of Diseases is a medical classification list released by the WHO, every decade or so. Countries are allowed to make their respective adaptations.

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