World Health Organisation removes trans identities from 'mental disorder' category

The Transgender Pride Flag was created by American trans woman Monica Helms in 1999.
The Transgender Pride Flag was created by American trans woman Monica Helms in 1999. Photo credit: Reuters

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has removed trans-related identities from a list of mental disorders, reclassifying them under 'Conditions Related to Sexual Health'.

WHO published the latest version of their International Classification of Disease on Monday. In it, they reclassified all trans-related categories in a new chapter, called 'Conditions Related to Sexual Health'.

Earlier version of the document classified trans identities under the chapter 'Mental and Behavioural Disorders'.

New Zealand Human Rights Commission spokesperson Taine Polkinghorne has commended WHO for the move.

"This is fantastic news. It will be crucial in reducing the stigma around trans and gender diverse people.

"Belonging to the trans or gender diverse community does not equate to having a mental disorder. We should not be pathologised nor discriminated against."

The Commission is calling for the New Zealand Government to follow WHO's lead.

"We urge the Government Administration Committee, currently considering submissions including ours, to recommend amending the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill so trans and gender diverse people can easily change the sex recorded on their birth certificates.

A 2008 report by the Human Rights Commission found transgender people experience discrimination, stigmatisation and marginalisation at a far higher rate than other New Zealanders.

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