Lauren Rae | Contributing Writer | Monday, 16 May 2016

Denmark Will Become The First Country To Declassify Transgender As Mental Illness

Denmark Will Become The First Country To Declassify Transgender As Mental Illness

The Debrief: Denmark becomes the first country to declassify transgender as a mental illness, wiping ‘transgenderism’ off of its list of mental illnesses.

Denmark will becomes the first country to declassify transgender as a mental illness, wiping ‘transgenderism’ off of its list of mental illnesses. Because even though it's 2016, transgender is still classed as a mental illness worldwide by World Health Organisation, and the Danish government are looking to change this. 

To clarify, up until the proposal was submitted in Denmark January 2014, the term ‘transgender’ was classified as a mental illness meaning that trans individuals were boxed alongside those with mental and or behavioural issues. In the past, Denmark has faced scrutiny for its treatment of trans people. Up until 2014 transgender people had to seek medical approval and be undergo forced sterilisation before their chosen gender and identity could be recognised. 

Social Democrat health spokesman Flemming Møller Mortensen, described the WHO list as ‘incredibly discriminatory’ towards transgender people. Flemming says 'At the moment, transgender is listed as a mental illness or behavioural problem. That is incredibly stigmatising and in no way reflects how we see transgender people in Denmark. It should be a neutral diagnosis,' Because of this, the Ministry of Health has since confirmed that in 2017, transgenderism will no longer appear on Denmark’s list of mental illnesses and removed from the list entirely.

And as for the rest of us? We're still waiting for the World Health Organisation to investigate the proposal to declassify sexual orientation in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) was first submitted in January 2014. But that's not expected until 2017. 

According to The Local LGBT spokesperson Linda Thor Pedersen who resides in Denmark, said of the move: ‘Being transgender is a natural variation, like being left-handed. We are not sick, and therefore don't belong in the chapter on mental illness. Some people still think we are mentally ill, because our diagnosis is in the psychiatric chapter. This proposal can make a big difference toward changing that.’ 

Although it will not take affect until 2017, the proposal to declassify is a huge step for the LGBT community and for transgender rights.

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Tags: LGBT