The World Health Organization Just Made A Huge Change For Transgender People

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The WHO sought to change its terminology from "transsexualism" to "gender incongruence", according to Reed, because the latter helped express "a discrepancy between a person's experienced gender identity and their body".

The rationale being that while evidence is now clear that it is not a mental disorder, and indeed classifying it in this can cause enormous stigma for people who are transgender, there remain significant health care needs that can best be met if the condition is coded under the ICD.

Before 2016, the World Health Organization referred to transgenderism as "transexualism", but changed to gender incongruence to "a discrepancy between a person's experienced gender identity and their body".

Human rights and LGBT activists hailed the decision, noting that labeling trans people as having a pathological condition contributed to stigmatization, and in some cases, limited health resources.

Several countries have already taken steps to reclassify transgenderism and take it off the list of mental disorders, including France and Denmark.

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Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the WHO, told CNN last December that the ICD catalog is the "basis for identification of health trends and statistics globally and the worldwide standard for reporting diseases and health conditions". Public health experts also use the ICD to track changes in the rates of deaths and diseases.

"We expect (the re-categorization) will reduce stigma", Lale Say, the coordinator of WHO's department of reproductive health and research, told AFP Tuesday.

Even though the ICD-11 will not be formally adopted by all the 194 member nations of the World Health Organization until next year, the announcement of the final ICD-11 version yesterday was carried out to five the nations enough time to implement the changes. In 1990, the World Health Organization declared that "sexual orientation alone is not to be regarded as a disorder".

The protest comes after the United Nations agency announced Monday that being transgender will no longer be classified as a mental illness in the new International Classification for Diseases (ICD), the ICD-11.

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