Transsexuality is no longer a disease in Denmark

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

As one of the first countries in the world, Denmark has removed transsexuality from the list of mental illnesses. Will the World Health Organization follow?

Born with the wrong sex: Since this year, transsexuals are no longer classified as mentally ill in Denmark. The health authority deleted the term from 1 January of the list of mental sufferings. This means that the country is one of the exceptions worldwide - alongside France, where transsexuals are no longer regarded as mentally ill since 2010.

Many people concerned felt the classification was discriminatory, explained the Danish Ministry of Health. Therefore, transsexuality was now formally assigned to another category. This does not alter the treatment possibilities for people who prefer to belong to the other sex. In order to be able to undergo a gender transformation or a hormonal treatment, transsexuals must undergo long, psychological examinations.

The LGBT community in Denmark welcomed the symbolic decision. "This removes the stigma that has been applied to health care transgenders," said the head of the Danish LGBT national association Søren Laursen at the Ritzau news agency.

The WHO catalog still speaks of disorder
Health Worth
In the international diagnosis catalog of the World Health Organization (WHO), transsexualism is still classified as a "disorder of gender identity". There has been criticism for a long time.

In the summer of 2015, for example, a survey published in "Lancet Psychiatry" showed that those affected suffer more from the social exclusion through the family than among the direct consequences of their transsexuality. The authors have therefore advocated the removal of transsexuality from the WHO's International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

The list, which is also used in Germany to classify diseases, allows stigmatization and creates barriers in politics and society, explained the authors of the "Lancet" study. In 2018, a reissue of the catalog should be given, then the WHO would have the opportunity to react to the criticism.

In some cases, however, the classification as an illness assures those affected also the right to treatment. For them, new care facilities would have to be created.

Irb / AFP