World Health Organisation drops gender identity disorder from mental illness list

By Ella Thwaites, Mental Health Editor | @ellathwaites_
Sub-edited by Jasmine Wing | @JasmineW_BN

The World Health Organisation whose aim is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations, has removed ‘Gender Identity Disorders’ from the mental disorder list. They have redefined Gender Identity Disorder as ‘Gender Incongruence’ and this will now be listed under the sexual health chapter of the ICD rather than the mental disorder section.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation updated it’s ‘International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems’ and decided that ‘Gender Identity Disorders’ should no longer be listed as a mental health issue.

The organisation focuses on: “health systems, health through the life course, non-communicable and communicable diseases, preparedness, surveillance and response, and corporate services.”

In a lot of cases, the process for trans people to change their gender and name on their legal documents (birth certificate, passport, driving license) or undergo gender reassignment surgery includes having a diagnosis of gender identity disorder. However with this change in the ICD – which is used worldwide to diagnose patients, trans people will be able to alter their documents and seek the appropriate medical attention without the diagnosis being relayed as a mental disorder.

Their ‘International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems or ICD works to identify global health trends and statistics. The ICD “defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries, and other related health conditions.”

The argument that any gender identity disorder is a mental illness and therefore requires treatment to improve it is no longer valid. It can’t be argued that trans people feel how they feel because of a chemical imbalance. This is a massive step forward for LGBTQ+ rights.

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