The World Health Organization no longer classifies being trans as a 'mental illness.'

A massive win for transgender people everywhere!


The United Nations health agency said the change would improve social acceptance.

Being transgender will no longer be classified as a mental illness by the World Health Organization (WHO), USA Today reported.

WHO adopted the eleventh edition of its International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) on May 25 in which "gender incongruence" — the organization's designation for people whose gender identity is separate from the gender they were assigned at birth — will now be classified as a sexual health condition.


"It was taken out from the 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," said Dr. Lale Say, coordinator of WHO's Adolescents and at-Risk Populations team, in an interview with CNN.

"So in order to reduce the stigma while also ensuring access to necessary health interventions, this was placed in a different chapter," Say said. The new guidelines reflecting the change will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.



WHO: Revision of ICD-11 (gender incongruence/transgender) – questions and answers (Q&A) www.youtube.com


LGBTQ groups have responded to the announcement with praise.

"This is the result of tremendous effort by trans and gender diverse activists from around the world to insist on our humanity, and I am elated that the WHO agrees that gender identity is not a mental illness," said Julia Ehrt, executive director of advocacy network Transgender Europe, in the CNN report.



The WHO's past classification of transgender identity as pathological had "contributed to the enormous stigma, discrimination, harassment, criminalization, and abuse on the basis of gender identity and expression," the organization said in a statement, especially since the ICD catalog is considered the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions.

The catalog's update could have a positive societal impact toward trans people, who face extremely high levels of poverty, discrimination, and violence around the world.In its new description of gender incongruence, the WHO says that "gender variant behavior and preferences alone are not a basis" for diagnosing someone's mental health. The change has been hailed as a sign of progress and better medical understanding.

"We've historically misclassified a lot of conditions in medicine because of a combination of stigma, fear, and misunderstanding," Dr. Jennifer Conti, a fellow at the nonprofit Physicians for Reproductive Health, told USA Today.

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Update, May 30, 2019: This story was updated to reflect recent developments.

This story originally appeared on Global Citizen. You can read it here.
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Andy Grammer, the pop singer and songwriter behind feel-good tunes like "Keep Your Head Up," "Back Home," and "Don't Give Up on Me," has a new album out—and it is seriously fabulous. Titled simply "Naive," Grammer says it's "all about how seeing the good in todays world can feel like a rebellious act."

"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.

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via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

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