The World Health Organization has recently announced that it is working on revamping its decades-old International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codebook to no longer classify transgender people as mentally ill. The current ICD version sees transgender identity as a mental health disorder which requires medical help.
The codebook’s improved version is expected to come into effect in 2018.
One of the authors of the new CDC explained that mental illness needs to cause dysfunction and distress in order to be classified as such. A recently published research paper in The Lancet Psychiatry shows that this is not the case with transgenderism.
Geoffrey Reed of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and lead author of the study said his team surveyed 250 transgender patients who were undergoing sex reassignment surgery and other similar health services at a facility in Mexico City.
Participants were asked about their childhood, age when they learned they want to change their sex, and reactions from their peers at school, work, and home. Researchers said that many respondents reported high levels of distress.
However, the distress was not caused by transgender identity, study authors said, but by something else. Reed explained that participants have experienced a lot of distress and dysfunction because of peer rejection and violence.
Study authors concluded that participants’ levels of distress were not caused by the gender incongruence. So the condition should no longer be classified as a mental illness, researchers recommend in their paper.
Reed’s team strongly believes that the external factors put transgender people under a lot of distress such as social stigma and family rejection. In the new version of ICD, the condition will feature under Sexual Health issues and be renamed “gender incongruence.”
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has classified homosexuality as a mental health issue for years. Even the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud described it as a condition closely related to paranoia.
In 1973, after intense lobby from gay activists the disorder was reclassified as a “sexual orientation disturbance.” Fourteen years later, the condition vanished from the DMS completely because of the LGBT lobby.
The DSM listed transgederism under sexual deviations in the 1960s. In the 1980s, transgender identity became a “psychosexual disorder,” while in the mid-1990s it morphed into a “sexual and gender identity disorder.” In 2013, the DSM refers to the condition as a “gender dysphoria,” but the book still considers it a mental disorder.
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