According to the current Internal Classification of Diseases (ICD) set forth by the World Health Organization, being transgender is considered a mental illness. There have been proposals, however, to declassify transgender identity as a mental illness in the new ICD-11, which is expected to be approved in 2018.
Instead of removing the diagnosis altogether, Geoffrey Reed, a Professor of Psychology and consultant on the ICD-11, proposes a new diagnosis called “gender incongruence” that would be found in a new medically and biologically oriented chapter called “Conditions Related to Sexual Health.” It is important that the transgender classification is not removed from the ICD entirely to ensure that transgender individuals have continued, and hopefully improved, access to health care.
Yet, many transgender activists see this change as only “a small battle won” in the “war being waged for trans rights”. One activist, Alok Vaid-Menon, explains that stressors related to being transgender come from the outside world and there are bigger issues than the ICD classification that must be addressed, including violence, poverty, homelessness, and housing discrimination. “The true victory,” according to Vaid-Menon, “would be to de-stigmatize diversity and difference itself.”
Tags: Transgender Rights, ICD-11, Declassify Mental Illness, De-stigmatize diversity, Transgender Health Care Access, Gender Identity