The European Parliament this week voted to pass a resolution calling on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to stop classifying transgender people as mentally ill.
The text of the resolution, passed Wednesday, reads:
“The European Parliament calls on the Commission and the World Health Organization to withdraw gender identity disorders from the list of mental and behavioral disorders, and ensure a non-pathologizing reclassification in the negotiations on the 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases.”
WHO currently classifies gender identity disorders, usually earmarked as gender disphoria as a preferred term, as a “mental and behavioral disorder” per the WHO International Classification of Disease (ICD). WHO is currently revising its ICD with the next edition due to be published 2015.
A statement from Dutch MEP Emine Bozkurt who authored the amendment comes via Pink News:
“Transgender identities are still considered a mental disorder by the World Health Organisation. This must be changed urgently, and certainly by the time the next version comes into effect in 2015.
“Transgender people wishing to live in a body that matches their identity are of course entitled to medical treatment and its benefits, but the negative stigma surrounding them must stop.”
Similarly, MEP Raül Romeva i Rueda adds that classifying transgender people as mentally ill “means they are not free to decide for themselves, and are often disrespected by the medical profession, their employers and their families.”
Until 1990 the ICD classed homosexuality as a mental illness.
The European Parliament also voted this week on a resolution to end homophobia and transphobia in member states, joining the United Nations’ call for safeguarding the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the world. A total of 586 MEPs voted, with 442 in favor of the resolution and only 104 against with 40 abstentions, an encouraging margin and somewhat wider than expected margin. The text of this resolution mandates that all European External Action Service and EU Member States increase their work in fighting for the human rights of LGBT people worldwide. You can read more on the resolution here.