The World Health Organization's latest update is a big win for trans people — and science.

The World Health Organization recently announced a big change to its International Classification of Diseases database, and that's good news for trans people.

The ICD is a centuries-old catalog tracking pretty much every medical condition you could possibly think of. With the release of its 11th edition, the WHO moved gender incongruence — the diagnostic term applied to trans people — from the catalog's mental health section to its new home under sexual health conditions.

In a video explaining the decision to reclassify the condition, Dr. Lale Say, the coordinator of the WHO's Department of Reproductive Health and Research, explains that recent discoveries helped inform the action.


GIF from World Health Organization/YouTube.

"It was taken out from mental health disorders because we had [a] better understanding that this wasn't actually a mental health condition, and leaving it there was causing stigma," she said. "So in order to reduce the stigma while also ensuring access to necessary health interventions, this was placed into a different chapter."

The WHO's official press release states that "evidence is now clear that it is not a mental disorder." In other words, there are specific medical needs associated with being transgender, so it didn't make sense to eliminate the diagnosis from the ICD completely. Exclusion from the ICD altogether could have resulted in trans people not being able to access things like hormone therapies and other transition-related care.

WHO's move echoes that of other medical organizations that have come out in support of trans people in recent years.

As WHO's release says, it is clear that being trans is not a mental disorder. Still, there's a strong misconception that persists. In 2014, the American Psychiatric Association updated its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) classification for trans people. What was once called "gender identity disorder" was updated to "gender dysphoria." Why the change? It's actually pretty similar to WHO's rationale:

"DSM-5 aims to avoid stigma and ensure clinical care for individuals who see and feel themselves to be a different gender than their assigned gender. It replaces the diagnostic name 'gender identity disorder' with 'gender dysphoria,' as well as makes other important clarifications in the criteria. It is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition."

In 2014, the American Medical Association issued a resolution urging states to allow trans people to update identifying documents like birth certificates. The following year, they stated that there is "no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals" from the military (a call they renewed in light of President Trump's trans military ban). In 2016, they called on insurance companies to cover transition-related health care as they would any other medically necessary treatment. In 2017, the AMA came out against the use of so-called bathroom bills meant to prevent trans people from "accessing basic human services and public facilities in line with one’s gender identity, including, but not limited to, the use of restrooms."

Groups like the American Psychological Association, the American Association of Family Physicians, the National Association of Social Workers (whose position is gender dysphoria should be removed from the DSM entirely), the American Public Health Association, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health have all come out in favor providing affirming care for trans people.

The logo of the World Health Organization outside its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.

The idea that trans people simply have a "mental disorder" is misleading and inaccurate.

Mental health is a fraught topic in the U.S., and the stigma surrounding it leads to some unfortunate misconceptions. Some may see the words "mental health" and conclude that whatever the problem is, it's all in a person's head and doesn't stem from a physical or biological origin. Of course, that's not the case. The same is true of being transgender.

People hold gay pride (forefront) and trans pride (background) flags during a pride parade in Bratislava, Slovakia. Photo by Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty Images.

The data is there to prove it. In 2014, writer Brynn Tannehill published an article defending the biological origins of gender dysphoria. Tannehill was writing in response to an article published by Fox News in which the author argued that transgender people simply didn't exist. Tannehill's rebuttal was jam-packed with data — citing 15 different studies supporting the idea that there is a biological basis to being transgender.

The science clearly favors one side: the side that believes trans people are who they say they are, the side that believes trans people should have access to medical care and legal protections against discrimination.

You may be asking yourself what this means for your everyday life. The answer: probably nothing, especially if you're not trans.

Being trans means having your existence and your identity constantly put up for debate. As someone who is trans, I know this well. It's exhausting, and too often, people will try to dispute my own existence (or the validity of it, at least) by citing "science." The truth is that it's just recently that "science" is coming to strong conclusions about trans people — and these new findings dispute the anti-trans arguments.

7-year-old transgender boy Jacob Lemay at his house in Melrose, Massachusetts, in 2017. At this age, there is no medical component to his transition, just social. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

For decades, much of what we knew about gender dysphoria and its origins was based solely on a handful of imperfect studies put out by just a handful of imperfect researchers. Many of their dated, harmful, and highly disputed findings foster stigma that still exists today. The importance of groups like the World Health Organization, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Medical Association taking affirmative stands in support of trans people is that it reflects a better understanding of who trans people are and the evolving science around the issue.

We exist. It's science.

Watch this short video from the WHO explaining this update to the ICD.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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