GATE (Global Action for Trans* Equality) and STP, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization report that the World Health Organization (WHO) has published online its proposals on trans* health in the ICD-11 Beta Draft.
The publication includes the two new categories proposed by the WHO Working Group: ‘Gender incongruence of adolescence and adulthood’ and ‘Gender incongruence of childhood’. Both categories are part of a new chapter of ICD-11: Chapter 06 ‘Conditions related to sexual health’. This means that for the first time in history, the WHO includes trans* issues in a separate chapter on ‘Mental and behavioural disorders’. Despite the challenges of both the new categories and the new chapter, we can celebrate this small step in the long struggle for depathologization.
The inclusion of these categories in a new chapter does not mean that reform is approved, as the ICD-11 will only be voted on by the World Health Assembly in 2017 (scheduled). However, it means that WHO has addressed the historic claim of the trans* movement and that further developments will also be possible.
We still have much work ahead. It is necessary to analyze and discuss collectively the category of ‘Gender incongruence’ and its risks of re-pathologizing trans* issues in ICD-11. It is also essential to continue to insist that health access and gender identity recognition are human rights and that their realization must not depend on diagnostic categories. It is necessary to consider the very construction of the proposed chapter to advance towards the depathologization of body diversity and break the association between trans* health issues and other pathologizing categories. We must ensure that the new version of ICD does not reproduce gender stereotypes. And above all, we must work together to avoid the inclusion of the category of ‘Gender incongruence of childhood’ in ICD-11.
The addition of Chapter 06 ‘Conditions related to sexual health’ in the ICD-11 Beta Draft is very recent and, according to information provided by WHO, its contents could vary in the upcoming days. We invite all of you to join this process, to contact us and participate in the various activities that will take place in the next weeks, – and, as always, to go out on October 18, International Day of Action for Trans* Depathologization, to say NO to the pathologization of gender diversity in childhood and to say YES to trans* depathologization.
GATE, Global Action for Trans* Equality & Coordination Team of STP, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization