The World Health Organization (WHO) has declassified being trans as a mental illness in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

The health agency has stated there is no evidence that being trans is a mental disorder, reclassifying it as a condition of sexual health.

“The rationale being that while evidence is now clear that it is not a mental disorder, and indeed classifying it in this can cause enormous stigma for people who are transgender, there remain significant health care needs that can best be met if the condition is coded under the ICD,” the WHO’s report reads.

The declassification of being trans as a mental illness is expected to have positive consequences for the trans community.

Advocates have welcomed the announcement, saying it follows many years of lobbying for change based on medical evidence.

Sally Goldner of TransGender Victoria said the change will be significant for the lives of trans people.

“This is already proving, for trans and gender diverse people, to be the equivalent to taking homosexuality out of the psychiatrists’ [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders]. It’s that big of a milestone,” she told the Star Observer.

Goldner said the reclassification will contribute to fighting stigma and transphobia.

“People say transgender is a disorder and you’ve got to fix the disorder,” she said.

“They can’t say that as much anymore. Here’s the big health organisation saying no, it’s just part of human diversity. It needs to be treated with respect.

“It’s going to help parents support young [trans] people better. It can only have benefits.”

Goldner said the news is especially positive after the community has endured so much public transphobic rhetoric.

“After things have been such a battle for the last couple of years here, this will provide a welcome boost to morale for trans people,” she said.

The WHO similarly declassified homosexuality as a disorder in 1990, a landmark that is celebrated every May 17 on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

Some trans people had been reluctant to embrace IDAHOBIT as a day against transphobia while being trans remained officially a mental illness.

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