WHO Weighs Dropping Transgender Identity From List of Mental Disorders

Posted on August 23, 2016

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The World Health Organization is moving toward declassifying transgender identity as a mental disorder in its global list of medical conditions, with a new study lending additional support to a proposal that would delete the decades-old designation.

"The intention is to reduce barriers to care," said Geoffrey Reed, a psychologist who is coordinating the mental health and behavior disorders section in the upcoming edition of the codebook, called the International Classification of Diseases, or I.C.D.

Removing the mental health label from transgender identity would be a powerful signifier of acceptance, advocates and mental health professionals say.

"It’s sending a very strong message that the rest of the world is no longer considering it a mental disorder," said Dr. Michael First, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and the chief technical consultant to the new edition of the codebook. "One of the benefits of moving it out of the mental disorder section is trying to reduce stigma."

Other parts of the proposed change are stirring debate, however. The proposal would not take transgender out of the codebook altogether, but would move it into a newly created category: "Conditions related to sexual health."

Many, but not all, favor the idea of keeping transgender in the codebook in some form because the designations are widely used for billing and insurance coverage of medical services and for conducting research on diseases and treatments. But where should it go?

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Category(s):LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender) Issues

Source material from The New York Times

Mental Health News