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  • Transgender activists protest in front of Mexico

    Transgender activists protest in front of Mexico's Supreme Court on Wednesday 20, 2018 | Photo: EFE

Published 20 June 2018

"WHO foments stigma and discrimination against the trans community for refusing to recognize our right to gender identity," read one banner.

Dozens of Mexican trans activists gathered Wednesday in front of the Supreme Court, protesting against the fact the World Health Organization still stigmatizes their trans identity as 'gender incongruency.'

Year in Review: LGBT Rights in Latin America

"WHO foments stigma and discrimination against the trans community for refusing to recognize our right to gender identity," read one banner.

"By maintaining the trans community in these new terms, a discriminatory weight is still existing as well as a presumption of illness, violating our right to freedom, to free determination of our gender identity," said trans activist Diana Sanchez Barrios.

The protest comes after the United Nations agency announced Monday that being transgender will no longer be classified as a mental illness in the new International Classification for Diseases (ICD), the ICD-11. 

WHO said "gender incongruence" would be considered a "sexual health condition" and explained that "while evidence is now clear that it is not a mental disorder, and indeed classifying it as this can cause enormous stigma for people who are transgender, there remain significant healthcare needs that can best be met if the condition is coded under the ICD."

However, demands for the total declassification of trans-sexualism as a 'health condition' remain, despite justification by the WHO, which says it aims to reduce barriers to healthcare.

The Latin American trans rights group, Transgender Project, celebrated WHO's announcement but criticized the fact the organization still classifies being transgender as a "gender incongruence."

In an interview with teleSUR, Nua Fuentes, a trans-feminist activist and spokesperson for the Trans Pride World platform, said: "It is positive, but it is nothing new. Trans organizations were expecting this, and we have been demanding the end of the pathologization of our identities since 2007."

Fuentes argues the move is incomplete because being trans is still included in the disease manual "through words like 'gender incongruence' and 'experienced gender,' which would have us think that there is a real identity that would be cisgender or heterosexual identity and a secondary trans identity. We don't want this hierarchy."

Homosexuality was removed from the ICD in 1992 with the publication of the ICD-10. The ICD-11 will be presented to all WHO member states for ratification in May 2019, during the World Health Assembly. Its implementation is scheduled for January 2022 when it will replace the ICD-10, which has been used since the early nineties.

The new classification also includes a chapter on traditional medicine and medicinal practices and includes gaming as an addictive disorder.

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