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Health Experts Urge WHO to Remove LGBT ’Disorders’ From ICD

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Thursday Jul 3, 2014
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Health experts are looking for changes to the ICD-11
Health experts are looking for changes to the ICD-11  (Source:WHO)

As the World Health Organization and the United Nations prepare to release a new edition of their International Classification of Diseases (ICD) guidelines in 2017, health experts have asked them to review and/or remove several "disorders" that stigmatize the LGBT community as sick.

Although the ICD hasn’t listed homosexuality as a disorder since 1990, there are still some situations on the books that would be considered a "disorder," Gay Star News reports

Examples include a man who marries a woman, then decides he’s gay and wants a divorce; someone who is gay but wishes he were straight, and those who are unsure of their sexuality and distressed because of that. There is also a laundry list of issues around those distressed by their orientation, or labeled under the catch-all of "other psychsexual development disorders."

The current edition of the ICD lists these as "Psychological and behavioral disorders associated with sexual development and orientation," but notes, "sexual orientation by itself is not to be considered a disorder."

Well, it’s just not good enough with the working group charged with reviewing the F66 section of the ICD. They recommend that these categories be entirely deleted from the ICD 11.

"Health concerns related to sexual orientation can be better addressed using other ICD categories," say the Working Group. "A review of the evidence published since 1990 found little scientific interest in these categories. In addition, the Working Group found no evidence that they are clinically useful: they neither contribute to health service delivery or treatment selection nor provide essential information for public health surveillance. Moreover, use of these categories may create unnecessary harm by delaying accurate diagnosis and treatment."

Fat chance on that: any changes to the guidelines will need to be voted on by the ministers of the WHO organization countries, 80 of which still criminalize homosexuality.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women’s news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes about local restaurants in her food blog, http://brooklyniscookin.blogspot.com/

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