World Health Organization To Remove 'Gender Dysphoria' From List of Mental Disorders
Technically, it no longer considers gender incongruence, a condition experienced by many transgender people, a mental disorder. Many in the LGBT community see this as a major win for transgender people and transgender rights. But is it all good news?
There Could be a Downside to This Decision
While many see this as a victory for transgender people, others are concerned it will affect transgender people’s ability to seek and pay for treatment, like counseling, hormonal medications, and surgery.
What is Gender Incongruence?
Gender incongruence is a condition in which a person is distressed by or uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth. They feel as though their sexual anatomy does not match their internal feelings. For example, a person with male anatomy and who is considered a boy by others will feel feminine, or identify as a girl on the inside.
Why the WHO Decided it was Time for a Change
The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the World Health Organization’s list of officially recognized disorders. Until now, it had not been updated or changed since 1990.
In a statement, the WHO said that scientific evidence clearly shows that gender incongruence is not a mental disorder and acknowledging it as one “can cause enormous stigma for people who are transgender.”
That being said, the WHO does acknowledge that people who do experience gender incongruence have “significant health care needs.”
Ultimately, the WHO feels this is the right decision to make and will positively affect transgender people’s lives and health. Currently, transgender people are some of the most affected by HIV/AIDS (after gay men). Stigma, discrimination, and legal barriers have plagued the transgender community, and the WHO believes this ruling will make it easier for transgender individuals to get access to health, mental, and HIV care.