The World Health Organization has officially decided to stop classifying transgender people as mentally ill. Given the decision of Kenya’s High Court not to decriminalise homosexuality last week, WHO deciding not to further categorize transgender as a mental disorder is exciting news. WHO member states adopted the new edition of the International Classification of Diseases during an annual assembly in Geneva on Saturday, and it is the first update of the illness list in 29 years.
They now describe gender identity disorder as “gender incongruence,” and it is no longer listed in the chapter of mental disorders. WHO says the right of people to receive medical services, such as surgical operations to make them sterile, should be guaranteed. A representative from Denmark welcomed the latest changes, saying that it is a big step forward to allow everyone to lead a life with dignity. WHO hopes that the action will help to eliminate discrimination against transgender people and promote public understanding of them.
And although this is a step in the right direction, trans people are still demonised, abused and killed. The U.S. has an increasingly disturbing list of trans murders, especially trans women and some of which has happened this year. And there’s Trump’s trans military ban which took effect last month. WHO is an institution and has done its part in recognising trans people as humans, and it’s high time we did the same.