Gender trouble: The World Health Organization, the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD)-11 and the trans kids
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© CSIRO 2017. The World Health Organization (WHO) is revising its diagnostic manual, the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). At the time of writing, and based on recommendations from its ICD Working Group on Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health, WHO is proposing a new ICD chapter titled Conditions Related to Sexual Health, and that the gender incongruence diagnoses (replacements for the gender identity disorder diagnoses used in ICD-10) should be placed in that chapter. WHO is proposing that there should be a Gender incongruence of childhood (GIC) diagnosis for children below the age of puberty. This last proposal has come under fire. Trans community groups, as well as many healthcare professionals and others working for transgender health and wellbeing, have criticised the proposal on the grounds that the pathologisation of gender diversity at such a young age is inappropriate, unnecessary, harmful and inconsistent with WHO's approach in regard to other aspects of development in childhood and youth. Counter proposals have been offered that do not pathologise gender diversity and instead make use of Z codes to frame and document any contacts that young gender diverse children may have with health services. The author draws on his involvement in the ICD revision process, both as a member of the aforementioned WHO Working Group and as one of its critics, to put the case against the GIC proposal, and to recommend an alternative approach for ICD in addressing the needs of gender diverse children.
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