Transsexuality - not a mental disorder!

By Valeria Bigurra Peñavera

Mexican study aims to prove that transgender identity is not a mental illness and should not be classified as such by the WHO.

transgender

A group of Mexican scientists from the National Institute of Psychiatry Ramon de la Fuente and the UNAM in collaboration with the Specialized Clinic Condesa of Mexico City conducted a study, in which they interviewed 260 people of transgender identity in order to present evidence to the World Health Organization to withdraw the term from the list of mental disorders.

According to the DSM-5 - the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association - a mental disorder is a syndrome characterized by clinically significant impairment of cognitive status, emotional regulation or behavior of an individual, reflecting dysfunction of psychological, biological or developmental processes that underlie their mental function.

The reason that people who identify as transgender are classified as people with mental disorders, is because they suffer from problems of distress and dysfunction, however, the study seeks to prove that the reason they have these problems is because of the social rejection they suffer and not their sexual identity.

transgender2

The Mexican study was published in the prestigious journal The Lacet Psychiatry, and became the first of its kind to be released in a specialized journal, but other countries have also conducted similar studies.

Geoffrey M. Reed, one of the directors of the study said in an interview that the WHO definition “has been misused by some governments to deny the authority of transgender people and reduce their rights in matters involving change in legal documents, adoption and reproduction".

Removing the term from the list of mental disorders could help create health policies and programs to reduce stigmatization and victimization of this population, and improve their living conditions.

transgender3Original Image: "WHO Headquarters main conference room" byThorkild Tylleskar, used underCC BY 3.0license, viaWikimedia Commons.

In 2018, the WHO will meet to review the various studies about the matter and make a decision regarding the elimination of transgender identity from the International Classification of Diseases, which is also found in the diagnostic manuals ICD-10, of the Organization, and the DMS-5, of the American Psychiatric Association.

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