Mexico is leading a campaign to demand the World Health Organization declassify transgender identity as a mental disorder in its global list of medical conditions.
The petition is based on a study published on July 28 in The Lancet Psychiatry Journal. After more than two years of research, it concludes that transgender people are not “mentally ill”.
The New York Times said the status change has so far been approved by each committee that has considered it. Any change would be reflected in the next edition of the WHO codebook, which classifies diseases and influences the treatment of patients worldwide.
The study is the first of its kind and was conducted by Geoffrey Reed from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and Rebecca Robles from the National Institute of Psychiatry.
They interviewed 250 transgender people and found that their problems of distress and dysfunction are strongly linked with experiences of “social rejection and violence” rather than the experiences of gender itself.
“The stigma associated with mental disorders and transgender identity have contributed to the precarious legal status, human rights violation and barriers to give an appropriate attention for transgender people,” said Reed in a statement.
According to LGBTI activists, the decades-old designation of transgender identity as a mental disorder has been misused to justify the creation of barriers to access to health services.
[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]