Removing Gender Identity Disorder From The ICD
“Greetings from GATE - Global Action for Trans* Equality!
As you may or may not know, the World Health Organization (WHO) has started the process of reviewing the International Classification of Diseases (known as ICD-10), with the goal of publishing a new version, ICD-11 in a few years. Undoubtedly, this is a historical moment for trans* movements worldwide: we have the chance and the challenge of formulating a proposal to send to the WHO working group addressing trans* issues in the context of ICD reform. This proposal should not only remove all pathologizing references (such as “transsexualism”, placed under Mental and Behavioural Disorders and “fetishistic transvestism”, placed under Sexual Preference Disorders); it should also grant access to medical procedures and to legal recognition that depend on ICD codes. The proposal must be sent to the WHO working group by mid December 2011.
Given the short time to produce it, and the need of having a proposal reflective of the situation of trans* people in as many parts of the world as possible, we have chosen a dual approach. GATE will coordinate the elaboration of a proposal, the first draft of which will be produced by an international group of experts, chosen on the basis of their work on trans* people’s healthcare needs, ICD and healthcare reform processes, human rights mechanisms, psycho-medical issues, legal issues and trans* activism. Our goal is to bring together in a geo-politically and otherwise diverse group, while respecting the limited financial and time resources that we have available. However, broad input from all trans* communities will be necessary to produce the fist draft and to turn it into the final proposal to be submitted to the WHO, recognizing that people working at the national level have the expertise required to effectively connect their own psycho-medical and legal systems with the ICD. Your participation is key!
How to participate in this process?
- Right now. Please, submit as soon as possible all relevant information on these issues (and others that you could consider appropriate): (1) What kind of diagnostic reference is necessary in your country to have access to surgical, hormonal or other gender affirming procedures? (i.e., “gender identity disorder”); (2) What kind of diagnostic reference is necessary in your country to have access to legal recognition? (i.e., “true transsexualism”); (3) Are there other diagnosis included within the ICD that are used to classify trans* people? How are they applied? If we propose significant changes to the ICD, will that prohibit trans* people from accessing healthcare and legal gender recognition? What kind of changes would be useful in your work?
- After the first draft is released. We’ll need you to read it very carefully, to study if the proposal will work in the context of your own health and legal systems and to send us all comments, suggestions and missing information to be incorporated into the final version of the proposal.
- After the final version of the proposal is completed. To improve decisively its chances of being included, the proposal will need your group/network/individual endorsement. It will also require all possible other endorsements, especially those coming from academic, professional and governmental institutions.
- If the proposal is included into the ICD-11, we all must advocate in favor of the adoption of this new text at the WHO before our governments.
If you have questions, comments or suggestions, and/or want to submit information to be included in the proposal, please contact us at icd[at]transactivists.org . Thank you!”
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