Thanks to a new international study, the World Health Organisation has moved closer to removing transgender identity from its global list of mental disorders.
The global health agency has been considering whether to declassify transgender identity as being a mental illness when it releases its updated list of global health conditions. Each WHO committee member that has considered the change has approved it.
The study, published in the The Lancet Psychiatry, revealed that the classification of transgender identity as a mental disorder created stigma and maltreatment against the transgender community, leading to psychological distress and dysfunction.
Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder was first listed as a clinical diagnosis in 1980, when it was included in another set of mental illness guidelines called the DSM. The supposed disorder was characterized by a “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, school, or other important areas of functioning.”
The codebook is known as the International Classification of Diseases, or, ICD for short. The updated version is expected to be released next year.
Some countries, including Sweden, are pressuring the WHO to make the change. Danish lawmakers recently said they would act unilaterally if the agency doesn’t reclassify transgender identity, although it’s not clear how they would do that.