The World Health Organization will no longer classify people who identify as transgender as having a mental disorder, the group announced Monday.
The announcement comes ahead of the release of the organization’s International Classification of Diseases in its 11th edition.
Previously, “gender incongruence” was placed in the mental health chapter of the WHO’s classification document. Now, it will be in a newly created sexual health chapter.
The United Nations health agency claimed there is “clear” evidence that being transgender “is not a mental disorder, and indeed classifying it in this can cause enormous stigma for people who are transgender.”
“Gender incongruence … has also been moved out of the mental disorders in the ICD, into sexual health conditions,” their report stated.
In a new description of gender incongruence, the WHO says that “gender variant behavior and preferences alone are not a basis” for diagnosing someone’s mental health.
According to Dr. Lale Say, Coordinator, Adolescents and at-Risk Populations Team at the World Health Organization, the goal in moving gender incongruence from the mental health chapter to a newly created sexual health chapter is to remove social stigma.
“It was taken out from mental health disorders because we had better understanding that this wasn’t actually a mental health condition,” she said. “And leaving it there was causing stigma.”
“Removing gender incongruence from mental health chapter is expected to reduce stigma and will help better social acceptance of individuals living with gender incongruence,” the representative added.
The change will be presented at the World Health Assembly in 2019 and will go into effect on January 1, 2022.
According to The National Center for Transgender Equality, a vast number of transgender individuals do suffer from mental illness.
A poll run by the transgender rights organization found that “Four out of 10 transgender Americans have attempted suicide in their lifetime, which is nearly nine times the attempted suicide rate among all Americans.”
“A staggering 39% of respondents experienced serious psychological distress in the month prior to completing the survey, compared with only 5% of the population,” the NCTE found.
Meanwhile, as noted by The Daily Wire, “the World Health Organization decided to classify excessive video game playing as a mental health disorder.”
“I’m not creating a precedent,” said Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of the World Health Organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, discussing the decision.
“One (major characteristic of gaming disorder) is that the gaming behavior takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are taken to the periphery,” Poznyak said.
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