Studies have found the stigmatization to have disastrous effects upon the transgender community.
Denmark has reportedly become the world's first country to declassify transgender identity from its list of mental illnesses or disorders. "The change is symbolic, but it's important," said Linda Thor Perderson, a spokesperson for LGBT Denmark, reports OutInPerth. "It's important for transgender people to not be branded mentally ill when we are not."
The decision comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to amend its classification of being transgender within the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which currently deems a person whose "gender identity or sexual preference is not in doubt, but... wishes it were different" to effectively have a Psychological and Behavioral Disorder.
Proposals to declassify being transgender as a mental disorder were accepted by the WHO last year, though the changes are not expected to be instituted until the unveiling of the next ICD, which is scheduled for 2018. In May 2016, the Danish government announced that it would take action to remove transgender identity from its own list of mental illnesses if the WHO did not alter its classification by October 2016.
An argument in support of Denmark's decision is that being transgender does not inherently cause the symptoms that may link the identity to other mental disorders. What does cause certain symptoms -- such as distress or socially impaired behavior -- is the widespread stigma with which society perceives the transgender community.
A WHO study published in July 2016 found that the stigmatization of transgender identity as a mental disorder has led to "precarious legal status, human rights violations, and barriers to appropriate health care among transgender people."
The study also found that there is an alarming suicide rate of 57 percent for transgender teens who do not have supportive families, whereas the rate is 4 percent for those with supportive families.
Do you think the classification should be altered in the United States?