On this International Day of Action for Trans Depathologisation [1], Transgender Europe calls on the World Health Organisation and governments to ensure that gender variant children are not labelled as sick.

While TGEU welcomes that trans-related diagnoses will no longer be considered  a mental health issue in the revised text of the International Classification of Diseases [2], we remain concerned over a proposed diagnosis targeting pre-puberty children who show gender non-conforming behaviour. Unlike the new adolescence/ adulthood diagnosis which enables access to necessary trans-related medical care, the category for pre-puberty children does not have proven clinical utility.

The proposed diagnosis counters the Convention on the Rights of the Child [3] that states “In all actions concerning children […] the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration.” States must protect the child’s best interest in all its actions. When it comes to the best interests of a gender-variant child, primary consideration must be given to whether a suggested action or decision has the potential to harm these children.

The European Parliament has also spoken against the diagnosis. In September 2015 [4] it “call[ed] on the Commission to intensify efforts to prevent gender variance in childhood from becoming a new ICD diagnosis;”

The proposed diagnosis is medically not necessary, but exposes children to the label “sick” when exploring and developing their personalities. It might also be abused to justify harmful ‘reparative’ therapies subjected at children. The diagnosis is contested amongst medical specialists. Human Rights and medical experts have been pointing out the lack of research for its necessity.

Gender variance, gender fluidity, gender creativity do not need fixing. Young, gender diverse children need supportive stigma-free environments to develop into confident young persons, not medical treatment.

TGEU calls upon the WHO to seriously consider the alternative proposals made by GATE Civil Society Expert Working Group [6] and to remove the proposed diagnosis. Governments and service providers must ensure that discrimination and hostile environments are addressed effectively while peer-support structures for children, parents and families that embrace and celebrate gender variance are top priority.



Transgender Europe is a European human rights NGO working for the human rights and equality of all trans people. More Information: www.tgeu.org

This statement is supported by Eurochild, a network of organisations and individuals working in and across Europe to promote the rights and well-being of children and young people http://www.eurochild.org/

Transgender or Trans is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or expression differs from the sex assigned to them at birth.

[1] International Day of Action for Trans Depathologisation: For the past seven years on the trans activists and groups organise demostrations and other actions in support of trans depathologisation. More info on http://stp2012.info/old/en

[2]International Classification of Diseases:  Information on the ICD:  http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/factsheet/en/

[3] Convention on the Rights of the Child, http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx

[4] TGEU statement on Ferrara Report on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union: http://tgeu.org/tgeu-ferrara-report/

[5] Results of WPATH Results of Member Survey on Gender Incongruence of Childhood (GIC) Diagnosis for ICD-11 http://tgeu.org/wpath-results-member-survey-gender-incongruence-childhood-gic-diagnosis/

[6] Critique and Alternative Proposal to the “Gender Incongruence of Childhood” Category in ICD-11 GATE Civil Society Expert Working Group Buenos Aires, April 4-6, 2013 https://globaltransaction.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/critique-and-alternative-proposal-to-the-_gender-incongruence-of-childhood_-category-in-icd-11.pdf