World Health Organization removes “gender identity disorder” from list of mental illnesses

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05/28/2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) will remove “gender identity disorder” from its global manual of diagnoses — a major win for transgender rights. The change was announced last summer, but a resolution to amend the health guidelines was officially approved Saturday. The United Nations’ health agency released a revised version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) that reclassifies “gender identity disorder” as “gender incongruence,” which is now featured under the sexual health chapter rather than the mental disorders chapter. Gender incongruence is better known as gender dysphoria, the feeling of distress when an individual’s gender identity is at odds with the gender assigned at birth. An evolving scientific understanding of gender and work by transgender advocates have contributed to the reclassification. “The WHO’s removal of ‘gender identity disorder’ from its diagnostic manual will have a liberating effect on transgender people worldwide,” Graeme Reid, LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Monday. “Governments should swiftly reform national medical systems and laws that require this now officially outdated diagnosis.”

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