Denmark will declassify “being transgender” as a mental disorder on January 1, 2017.
Danish parliamentarians say the move is meant to put pressure on the World Health Organization (WHO), which is yet to officially remove transgender from its list of mental and behavioral disorders.
In the 1993 WHO classifications, a person whose “gender identity or sexual preference is not in doubt, but...wishes it were different” is listed as a ‘Psychological and Behavioural Disorder associated with Sexual Development and Orientation’.
“At the moment, transgender is listed as a mental illness or behavioural problem,” Social Democrat health spokesman Flemming Moller Mortensen told Danish news agency Ritzau. “That is incredibly stigmatising and in no way reflects how we see transgender people in Denmark. It should be a neutral diagnosis.”
He added: "The WHO is currently working on a new system for registering diagnoses. It has been working on it for a very, very long time. Now we’ve run out of patience, and want to send out a signal saying that if the system is not changed by October, then we in Denmark will go it alone.”
Amnesty International welcomed the decision, calling Denmark a “role model for [transgender] people’s rights.”