UN finally says trans is not a mental illnesses

World Health Organisation headquarters, Geneva

At long last being transgender is no longer classed as a mental illness by the United Nation’s run World Health Organisation (WHO).

The organisation has just agreed to a new version of its manual for health organisations – the International Classification of Diseases. This is the eleventh version of the document, and the give it the catchy name ICD-11. 

a long journey

WHO began talking about removing being trans from the list of mental health disorders back in 2016, when they were planning for the new edition.

The final version of the new document was published in June last year, with the change included. And it has just been formally adopted by the organisation’s ruling body.

The experts who worked on the document listened to groups representing trans people, but they also talked to medical experts and studied the scientific evidence.

reduce stigma

“Removing gender incongruence from the mental health chapter is expected to reduce stigma”, says Dr Lale Say of WHO.

“(It) will help better social acceptance of individuals living with gender incongruence. It will help individuals to seek care more”.

It’s an important decision, because the document affects the way member countries offer help and treatment.

a whole new section

In the previous version of the document the diagnoses for being trans appeared in “Mental and Behavioural Disorders”. They called it Transsexualism, Gender Identity Disorder and Gender Incongruence. 

Now being it’s has been moved to a new section called “Conditions Related to Sexual Health”. The new name is Gender Incongruence. 

“Gender incongruence is characterized by a marked and persistent incongruence between an individual’s experienced gender and the assigned sex”. ICD-11 by the World Health Organisation.

other LGBT changes

Transvestism, or cross-dressing, used to appear in the same mental and behavioural disorders section as being trans. It has now been removed from the classifications altogether.

WHO only removed being gay from the list of mental illnesses in 1990.



Media Credits:  World Health Organisation HQ, fro Wiki Commons. Video of Dr Lale Say of Who, from WHO via YouTube embed.


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