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As of June 18, 2018, being transgender is no longer considered being mentally ill. The immediate response of when was being transgender considered a mental illness? Is shared by millions. Widespread, there is a belief that sexual identity or gender identity has nothing to do with mental health. As LGBTQ+ awareness and pride has evolved, more people have adopted the belief that neither sexual identity nor gender identity has anything to do with mental illness; except in the light that there is a high prevalence of mental illness among LGBTQ+ individuals. However, that is tremendously different than LGBTQ+ being a mental illness itself. Unfortunately, there are still people who believe that sexual identity is a mental illness, a sin, or some other abomination which needs to be cured, fixed, or eradicated entirely.

The World Health Organization released its annual International Classification of Diseases on June 18, announcing that transgender is no longer considered a mental illness, but a sexual health condition. “This should stigma and improve care,” the organization tweeted.

According to the organization, sexual health can be defined as “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality” that “encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction.” For obvious reasons, this is a much better suited categorization than mental illness.

Dr. Lale Say spoke on behalf of WHO about the organization’s decision to make the change. “It was taken out from mental health disorders because we had [a] better understanding that this was not actually a mental health condition, and leaving it there was causing stigma.”

The stigma and the shame associated with the stigma of being transgender is felt by transgender people. Though it takes a remarkable amount of strength and self-love to make the decision to change gender expression and gender identity, there can still be a remarkable amount of shame involved. Internalized trans-phobia refers to the feelings trans people can experience of feeling ashamed about themselves for being trans.

Living in a world where the very core of who you are and believe yourself to be is shamed, is living in a traumatizing world. Trans people are not unfamiliar with bullying, hatred, hate crimes, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other forms of trauma. Research has found high rates of mental illness like depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders among LGBTQ+ groups as well as high rates of suicide. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, there is support for you, no matter how you define yourself. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It is of critical importance that society continues to evolve away from shame and trauma toward compassion, radical acceptance, and unconditional understanding, as well as love.

You are loved, no matter who you are and how you define yourself. At The Guest House Ocala, everyone is welcomed with open arms. Everyone’s story starts before treatment. Call us today for information on our residential treatment programs for traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues: 1-855-483-7800