May 29, 2019 at 11:31 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
WHO to no longer classify transgender people as mentally ill
transgender, Gender Conference East, trans, transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade
The World Health Organization on May 25, 2019, voted to declassify transgender people as mentally ill. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The World Health Organization on May 25 voted to declassify transgender people as mentally ill.

Human Rights Watch in a press release notes the World Health Assembly, the WHO governing body that represents the 194 countries that are members of the U.N. health organization, approved the removal of Gender Identity Disorder from its diagnostic manual. Human Rights Watch LGBT Rights Director Graeme Reid said the change “will have a liberating effect on transgender people worldwide.”

The American Psychiatric Association in 2012 removed Gender Identity Disorder from its list of mental disorders.

Malta, Uruguay and other countries have enacted comprehensive trans rights laws in recent years that, among other things, allow people to legally change their name and gender without undergoing sex-reassignment surgery. The World Health Assembly’s vote took place amid continued outrage over the Trump administration’s efforts to curtail trans rights, which includes a ban on openly trans servicemembers that came into effect on April 12.

“Governments should swiftly reform national medical systems and laws that require this now officially outdated diagnosis,” said Reid in Human Rights Watch’s press release, referring to the new WHO policy.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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