European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

ILGA-Europe’s statement on the occasion of the International Day for Trans and Intersex Depathologisation

Today, ILGA-Europe is reiterating its support to the International Day for Trans and Intersex Depathologisation.

Trans identities across the globe are still classified as mental illnesses following the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD). ILGA-Europe strongly believes that this de-humanising classification has to end without further delay.

Earlier this year, Argentina has led the way through the adoption of gender recognition legislation that does not contain any medical or surgical requirements for the legal gender recognition of trans people. Additionally, this law guarantees a high standard of trans related healthcare to trans persons as needed.

Intersex people are also pathologised following the binary sex model entrenched in law and culture. Indeed, intersex people’s bodies are seen as disordered and classified into different types of syndromes. Intersex bodies (when detected) are routinely ‘normalised’ through various medical and surgical interventions without prior personal and informed consent.

Until 1993, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder in a similar way as trans identities are regarded at the moment. Rightly, the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its International Classifications of Diseases and it is high time that the Organization addressed the depathologisation of trans identities.

Last year, the European Parliament was the first European institution that adopted a clear position on the need for the World Health Organization to stop considering trans people as mentally ill.

ILGA-Europe now calls on other European institutions to adopt a position against trans and intersex pathologisation and to make their voice heard in international fora for all trans and intersex people within Europe and around the world.

ILGA-Europe also calls on the World Health Organization to actively engage and involve the civil society organisations working for equality and human rights of trans and intersex people.

Additionally, ILGA-Europe calls on national governments to remove trans and intersex related pathologies in their national classification of diseases. Governments should find inspiration in the high standards set by Argentina and introduce gender recognition legislation in full respect of trans people’s human rights. Governments should also depathologise intersex bodies and provide intersex people with due recognition.