January 4, 2017 at 6:00 am EST | by Maximilian Sycamore
Denmark no longer considers transgender people mentally ill

Copenhagen, gay news, Washington Blade

Denmark is the first country in the world in which transgender people are not considered mentally ill. (Photo by Mstyslav Chernov; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Denmark on Sunday became the first country in the world to officially remove transgender identities from its list of mental health disorders.

The decision, supported by all parties in the Danish Parliament, was originally made back in May 2016 following a lack of progress from the World Health Organization.

“This very encouraging move from Denmark sets a strong example internationally towards destigmatizing transgender people and paving the way for quick and transparent processes for legal gender recognition,” said Amnesty International Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Advisor Leda Avgousti in a statement.

WHO classifies trans identity under Gender Dysphoria/Gender Identity Disorders in its International Classification of Disorders or ICD. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the term “perpetuates discrimination by broad-brushing transgender people with the stigma of mental illness.”

“The listing as a mental illness are stigmatizing for transgender people,” Linda Thor Pedersen, a spokesperson on trans issues for LGBT Denmark, a Danish advocacy group, told the Washington Blade.

“Our ability to make our own decisions regarding our own treatment is being questioned by healthcare authorities,” she added. “We think it’s an important step because placing transgender people in the wrong category in ICD-10 leads to wrong treatment.”

Changes to the ICD were proposed back in 2014, but when no progress had been made last October, the Danish government decided to move forward independently. WHO is now expected to complete it’s revisions to the ICD by 2018.

“This label means that transgender people are forced to undergo traumatizing and humiliating psychiatric evaluations in order to legally change their gender or even to be able to access gender reassignment treatment,” said Avgousti.

This is not the first time that Denmark has been a leader in improving the rights of trans people.

In May 2014 it repealed a law that forced trans people to undergo sterilization before legally changing their gender.

“Just as they did on civil marriage (first country in the world in 1989) Denmark leads the way once again,” gay U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford told the Blade.

“The public attitude to transgender people have been improved over the last couple of years and there is generally an acceptance of us,” added Pedersen.

Transgender Europe Executive Director Julia Ehrt in a statement said Denmark’s decision “will increase the opinion of being transgender is a natural variation in humanity.”

“While there is still a long way to go to achieve full depathologization of trans people; every positive change in law by a government, every statement of support by institutions is an affirmation of the hard work being carried out behind the scenes by activists and organizations alike,” said Ehrt.

  • Bob Hammond

    If a man can be a woman, I can be a ham sandwich.


    • HaroldAMaio

      No, you cannot.

      • Bob Hammond

        I thought that is how it works now. I can be anything I want.
        Check out the Facebook link in the above comment. It is a book I wrote dealing with this. I think you will see my tongue is firmly in my cheek.

        • arithrianos

          and are we supposed to feel sorry for you? you do know you can improve your ability to think rationally, you don’t have to remain so utterly irrational in your thoughts.

      • Tomorrow I think I will be a young asian girl with bad skin. I don’t care if you don’t agree.

        • arithrianos

          don’t care what you claim, that provides no proof whatsoever that you can tell a persons true gender better than they can. anything relevant to add to the topic, or just more of your meaningless plans that no one cares about?

    • Kathy11

      Spam, perhaps.

    • Vee

      your mother should have swallowed

  • Leslie Gray

    Go Denmark!

  • All pretense aside, If you think you’re something that you’re not, you’re ill. Saying otherwise doesn’t make it so.

    • arithrianos

      so what, prove that trans* are not the gender they claim to be first, then your comment might have some meaning beyond being a tautology.

    • Kathy11

      Then – in taking the name of a god – you must be very, very mentally ill.

    • Vee


    • Amanda Hunter

      you’re very ignorant about this please do more research

      • Except that if you’re born male or female, that’s what you are in reality. What :::exactly::: constitutes my ignorance in this matter? My habit of sticking to facts instead of pie in the sky BS?

    • You don’t understand. If you took a look inside me you would understand. However I don’t need you to understand. Because my path had turned so happy after I understood my own nature. I pity you to have to waste your time on people like me. It will only get you unhappy in the end. So good luck <3

  • Transgender activist from Denmark here: THIS DOES NOTHING.
    Please cover this story more critically for the sake of us who are pushing to eliminate years-long psychiatric assessments of Danish transgender persons as a prerequisite to treatment.

    This is a symbolic gesture and carries no real improvement for Danish transgender persons who are still being denied medical treatment and forced into conversion therapy-esque state sponsored psychiatric evaluation.
    Media’s one-sided coverage of this is killing our movement by focusing on a symbolic gesture rather than the issues we are protesting.
    – Please pass it on

    • Stephen Richards

      Thank you, Laura

  • Stephen Richards

    The world is saved!

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