Denmark to declassify being transgender as mental disorder

A gender neutral sign is posted outside a bathrooms at Oval Park Grill on May 11, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina.
A gender neutral sign is posted outside a bathrooms at Oval Park Grill on May 11, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. PHOTO: AFP

COPENHAGEN (AFP) - Denmark will next year declassify "being transgender" as a mental illness, lawmakers from the Parliament health committee decided on Tuesday (May 31).

"It is completely inappropriate to call it a sickness," the committee's deputy chairman Flemming Moller Mortensen told AFP.

"There is a longstanding wish from the trans community in Denmark to have it removed" from the Health Ministry's clinical guidelines on illnesses, he added.

The move, which would come into force on Jan 1, is also intended to put pressure on the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has yet to remove transsexualism from its list of mental disorders.

Denmark has "no more patience" with the WHO, which will discuss the issue later this year, Mr Mortensen said.

Amnesty International hailed the Danish decision, saying it made Denmark "a role model for transgendered people's rights".

"Amnesty would also like to commend the government for its effort in the WHO, where it has worked to have the disease classification system changed," the group's Denmark chief Trine Christensen said in a statement.

Rights group LGBT Denmark also welcomed the move.

"To remove transgender from the section of mental disorders means removing an institutionalised stigmatisation of trans people," spokesman Linda Thor Pedersen said.