The World Health Organization Has Finally Stopped Classifying Gender Dysphoria As a Mental Illness

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that they had removed gender dysphoria’s classification as a mental disorder in the latest edition of their International Classification of Diseases. ICD-11 and renamed gender dysphoria to gender incongruence, and now classifies it as a sexual health condition as opposed to a mental health condition. ICD-11 is based upon the International Classification of Diseases, which is published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and uses unique alphanumeric codes to identify known diseases and other health problems. According to WHO, physicians, coders, health information managers, nurses and other healthcare professionals also use ICD-11 to assist them in the storage and retrieval of diagnostic information. Gender dysphoria, now referred to as gender incongruence, involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender incongruence may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender. While many believe gender incongruence shouldn’t be classified in the ICD at all, others argue that it’s easier for transgender individuals to seek hormonal or surgical treatment if gender incongruence is included.

“For the WHO, the hope is that this change will decrease stigma against seeking treatment for gender incongruence. ‘It was taken out from the mental health disorders because we had a better understanding that this wasn’t actually a mental health condition, and leaving it there was causing stigma,’ Dr. Lale Say, the Coordinator of WHO’s Adolescents and At-Risk Populations team