BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova is among more than 43,000 people supporting a change.org petition calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to stop considering trans people mentally ill.
"Since facing and overcoming discrimination for being a transgender woman back in March — when I was kicked out of and then re-admitted to the Miss Universe Pageant — I've been working to fight the stigma and discrimination facing people like me," Talackova says in her letter to the WHO.
The petition was initiated by Maxwell Zachs, a cast member of UK reality show My Transsexual Summer.
The WHO now lists "transsexualism" under the category mental and behavioural disorders in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
In a Sept 28 resolution, the European Parliament also called on the WHO to "withdraw gender identity disorders from the list of mental and behavioural disorders, and ensure a non-pathologising reclassification in the negotiations on the 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases.”
“Transgender identities are still considered a
mental disorder by the World Health Organization. This must be changed
urgently, and certainly by the time the next version comes into effect
in 2015. Transgender people wishing to live in a body that matches their
identity are of course entitled to medical treatment and its benefits,
but the negative stigma surrounding them must stop," says Emine Bozkurt, a member of the European Parliament and the author of the amendment.
"The pathologisation of gender identity must stop, as the pathologisation of homosexuality ended in 1990,” adds Raül Romeva i Rueva, a member of the European Parliament who sits on the committee on women's rights and gender equality.
Landing image: Xtra (Shimon Karmel photo)