New Study Finds That Transgender Identity Is Not A Mental Disorder

Chrissie Williams

New findings suggest that it would be appropriate to remove the diagnosis of transgender from the current classification as a mental disorder in the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD), according to Psych Central.

The research, led by the National Institute of Psychiatry, interviewed 250 transgender people and found that it is not a mental disorder as once believed. Apparently, distress and impairment are the two essential characteristics of a mental disorder, and they found transgender people can experience some distress but not because they are transgender, but because of social rejection and violence.

"If it's not a disease now, then it never was. This should be clear."
"This reclassification will not only promote discussions for new health policies for the trans community to have better access to health services, but it will also help to reduce the stigma and rejection that they are victims of."

The study found that 76 percent of the participants reported they experienced social rejection, with 63 percent noting being a victim of violence as a result of their transgender status. And more alarming was that most of the violence occurred within the participants' families.

"Our findings support the idea that distress and dysfunction may be the result of stigmatization and maltreatment, rather than integral aspects of transgender identity. This study highlights the need for policies and programs to reduce stigmatization and victimization of people with transgender identities. The removal of transgender diagnoses from the classification of mental disorders can be a useful part of those efforts."

UCLA Williams Institute estimates there are about 1.4 million Americans who are transgender, Time reports. In the study, they found that 80 percent of the participants (in this study) were transgender women (those who were born male and identify as a female). The participants revealed that most of the social isolation they felt was at the hands of their immediate family members.

"Stigma associated with both mental disorder and transgender identity has contributed to the precarious legal status, human rights violations and barriers to appropriate care among transgender people."

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