Sexuality Policy Watch

Denmark losing patience with WHO, will depathologise trans identities

Originally from TGEU’s website, posted on 17/05/2016. Available at:

On this International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) [1], with a special focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing, Transgender Europe positively welcomes news from Denmark which aims to depathologise trans people within the country. Last Wednesday the Danish Health Minister asserted that Denmark would depathologise trans identities in the country if the WHO did not complete its revision process and change the International Classification of Diseases, the ICD, by October. [2] A large majority in the Danish parliament supports this proposal, which is up for vote on May 31.

The current ICD, which is under revision, classifies trans people as ill, merely for their gender identity. These diagnoses are associated with increased discrimination and stigma, both of which negatively affect overall mental health and wellbeing. In this light it is therefore encouraging to see the positive developments happening in some countries, which continue to strive to improve the lives of trans people.

TGEU calls on other governments across Europe to follow Denmark’s positive example of ending the pathologisation of trans people, while safeguarding access to healthcare and gender affirming treatment for all trans and non-binary people who need it.

TGEU’s Executive Director Julia Ehrt claimed, “While there is still a long way to go to achieve full depathologisation of trans people; every positive change in law by a government, every statement of support by institutions, is an affirmation of the hard work being carried out behind the scenes by activists and organisations alike.”

In a message to trans activists, and organisations around Europe, Ehrt stated “The fight for trans rights is a long and arduous journey. Activism can take its toll, and it is important for our community to stand together and support each other. We are honoured to be sharing this journey with many committed activists around Europe, and on IDAHoT hope that they remain vigilant and stand together as one community.”




[1] The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia is a day marked annually on May 17th, to raise awareness about the violence and discrimination faced by LGBTQI people globally.

This year, on occasion of IDAHOT, TGEU has launched the Trans Rights Europe Map & Index 2016, and an update from the Trans Murder Monitoring sub-project of the Transrespect versus Transphobia worldwide project.


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