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ICD-11 Depathologises Trans and Gender Diverse Identities

“Today, we know that full depathologisation can be achieved and will be achieved in our lifetime.“

Organisations from across the world have signed a joint statement and call to action to join with us in working together to fully dismantle pathologisation.

During the 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA), taking place from 20 – 28 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially adopts the International Classification of Diseases – 11th Revision (ICD-11). 

In the ICD-11, trans-related categories have been removed from the Chapter on Mental and Behavioral Disorders, which means that trans identities are formally de-psycho-pathologized in the ICD-11.

It has taken us a long time to get here. Until a few years ago, removing pathologising categories affecting trans and gender diverse people from the ICD-10 list of mental disorders seemed impossible. Today, we know that full depathologisation can be achieved and will be achieved in our lifetime.

The reviewing and updating process for the ICD-11 will soon begin, in which our activist efforts will focus on replacing the term ‘gender incongruence’ with a non-pathologising and non-stigmatizing term; removing the category Gender Incongruence of Childhood (GIC); and ensuring access to support systems with health coverage for trans and gender diverse children.

Other areas of focus will be advancing legal depathologisation everywhere, to ensure that the human rights of all trans and gender diverse people are respected and progressive expansion of public healthcare coverage, as established in the Universal Health Coverage framework.

Full depathologisation of trans and gender diverse people requires the complete removal of: psycho-medical classifications; legal and bioethical gatekeepers; corporate-driven medical care & treatments; normative gender stereotypes; and all forms of socioeconomic injustice.

Although the ICD-11 process appears to have finished, in reality it is just starting. We have everything to gain from engaging in the ongoing review process.

The moment to join us is now.