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Transgender no longer classed as a mental health disorder by WHO

Latest manual places gender incongruence in sexual health chapter

Transgender health issues are no longer being classified as mental and behavioural disorders by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Its updated global manual of diagnoses instead places issues of gender incongruence under a chapter on sexual health. 

A WHO expert told BBC News it now understands transgender is “not actually a mental health condition”.

In the latest manual, gender incongruence is defined as a marked and persistent incongruence between a person’s experienced gender and assigned sex. 

In the previous version, this was considered a gender identity disorder in the chapter entitled mental and behavioural disorders. 

Dr Lale Say, a reproductive health expert at WHO, said leaving transgender in the mental health disorders chapter was causing stigma. 

“So in order to reduce the stigma, while also ensuring access to necessary health interventions, this was placed in a different chapter,” Say explained.

Graeme Reid, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights director at campaign group Human Rights Watch, claimed the changes would have a liberating effect on transgender people worldwide. Nations will have until January 2022 to put the changes in place.