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(Trans)Gender Identity in the ICD-11: Finding the Right Balance Dr. Geoffrey M. Reed Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. 20 th World Congress for Sexual Health Glasgow, Scotland, UK 13 June 2011. World Health Organization. Specialized agency of UN established in 1948

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(Trans)Gender Identity in the ICD-11: Finding the Right BalanceDr. Geoffrey M. ReedDepartment of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

20th World Congress for Sexual Health

Glasgow, Scotland, UK

13 June 2011

world health organization
World Health Organization

Specialized agency of UN established in 1948

Mission of WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health

From WHO's inception, health has explicitly included mental health

Health classifications are core constitutional responsibility of WHO, ratified by treaty with 193 member countries

purposes of icd
Purposes of ICD
  • WHO member countries agree to use ICD as standard for health information and reporting

Basis for:

  • Assessment and monitoring of mortality, morbidity, injuries, external causes, other health parameters
  • Tracking epidemics and disease burden
  • Identifying appropriate targets of health care resources
  • Accountability
icd 10 revision
ICD-10 Revision
  • Mandated by World Health Assembly(Health Ministers of all WHO Member Countries)
  • ICD-10 completed in 1990; longest time without revision in history of ICD
  • Covers all areas of diseases, disorders, and injuries, and health conditions; diagnostic standard for medicine
  • ICD revision process involves many international professional associations, scientific societies, disease-based groups; and advocacy organizations working on behalf of ICD and WHO
msd responsibilities
MSD Responsibilities
  • WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse responsible for revision of:
    • Mental and Behavioural Disorders
    • Diseases of the Nervous System
  • Assisted by International Advisory Group in each area
  • Participate in Revision Steering Group for overall ICD revision
  • Technical work on Mental and Behavioural Disorders to be completed by end of 2013
  • Approval of ICD-11 by World Health Assembly expected: 2014 – 2015
mental and behavioural disorders i
Mental and Behavioural Disorders – I
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Schizophrenia spectrum and other primary psychotic disorders
  • Bipolar and related disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety and fear-related disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders
  • Disorders associated with severe stress or adversity
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Somatic distress disorders
mental and behavioural disorders ii
Mental and Behavioural Disorders – II
  • Feeding and eating disorders
  • Elimination disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sexual dysfunctions
  • Disruptive behaviour and antisocial disorders
  • Disorders due to substance use and other addictive disorders
  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Paraphilias
  • Other mental and behavioural disorders
who icd constituencies
WHO ICD Constituencies
  • Member Countries
    • Required to report health statistics to WHO according to ICD
    • Use ICD categories for eligibility and paymentof health care, social, and disability benefits and services
  • Health Professionals
    • Multiple mental health professions
    • Most mental disorders treated in primary care, must be useful for front-line service providers
  • Service Users/Consumers
    • ‘Nothing about us without us!’
    • Opportunities for substantive and continuing input
icd revision orienting principles
ICD Revision Orienting Principles
  • Highest goal is to help WHO member countries reduce disease burden of mental and behavioural disorders: relevance of ICD to public health
  • Focus on clinical utility: facilitate identification and treatment by global front-line health care providers, especially in low and middle-income countries
  • Multidisciplinary, global, multilingualdevelopment
  • Must be undertaken in collaborationwith stakeholders
  • Integrity of system depends on independence from pharmaceutical and other commercial influence
the treatment gap
The Treatment Gap
  • Mental disorders contribute heavily to global disability and disease burden (WHO, 2008)
  • Serious mental disorders receiving no treatment during past year:
    • Developed countries- 35.5 to 50.3%
    • Developing countries- 76.3 to 85.4%

(World Mental Health Survey Group, JAMA, 2004)

  • ‘Treatment gap’ is 32 to 78%, depending on disorder

(Kohn, Saxena, Levav, Saraceno, Bull of WHO, 2004)

importance of primary care
Importance of Primary Care
  • Worldwide, psychiatrists provide only a tiny proportion of mental health services
  • When people with mental disorders do receive treatment, they are far more likely to receive it in primary care settings
  • Mental health specialists alone cannot address treatment gap
  • A primary focus of the ICD revision is to provide a version of ICD-11 mental disorders classifications that is feasible and clinically useful for primary care settings
clinical utility as organizing principle
Clinical Utility as Organizing Principle
  • The ideal: scientific validity andclinical utility
  • At present, neuroscience and genetics evidence does not support major changes for individual conditions or provide definitive support for specific structure
  • WHO views current revision as major opportunity to improve utilityof the system
clinical utility who working model
Clinical Utility: WHO Working Model

Clinical utility of concept relates to:

  • Value in communicating (e.g., among practitioners, patients, families, administrators)
  • Implementation in clinical practice: Goodness of fit (accuracy), ease of use, time required (feasbility)
  • Usefulness in selecting interventionsand for clinical managementdecisions
  • Improvement in clinical outcomes at individual level and health status at population level
first question
First Question

Should we have categories to represent transgender phenomena as a part of a classification of health conditions?

  • Tracking epidemics/threats to public health/disease burden
  • To identify vulnerable/at risk populations
  • To define obligations of WHO Member States to provide free or subsidized health care to their populations
  • To facilitate access to appropriate health care services
  • As a basis for guidelines for care and standards of practice
first question1
First Question

Should we have categories to represent transgender phenomena as a part of a classification of health conditions?

  • Tracking epidemics/threats to public health/disease burden
  • To identify vulnerable/at risk populations
  • To define obligations of WHO Member States to provide free or subsidized health care to their populations
  • To facilitate access to appropriate health care services
  • As a basis for guidelines for care and standards of practice

second question
Second Question

How should category or categories related to transgender phenomena be conceptualized?

  • Transsexualism? (ICD-10 F64)

A desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by a sense of discomfort with, or inappropriateness of, one's anatomic sex and a wish to have hormonal treatment and surgery to make one's body as congruent as possible with the preferred sex.

  • Gender identity disorder?
  • Gender incongruence?
  • Gender dysphoria?
  • Effects of social oppression related to transgender identity?
  • Same for adults and children?
third question
Third Question

Where should categories related to transgender phenomena be placed in the classification?

  • Mental and behavioural disorders?
  • Factors influencing health status and contact with health services?
  • Signs and symptoms?
  • Reproductive health?
  • Sexual health?
  • Other?
working group
Working Group
  • The WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research will appoint a Working Group on Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health as part of the ICD revision process
  • Working Group will appoint jointly to the ICD Advisory Group for Mental and Behavioural Disorders and the Advisory Group for Reproductive Health
  • Will also provide liaison to the Pediatric Advisory Group and other classification areas as appropriate
  • Charge is to review evidence, submitted proposals, and develop draft of ICD-11 classification for consideration by Advisory Groups, public comment, and field testing
revision proposals
Revision Proposals
  • Can be made by anyone
  • Proposal form and guide available in English, Spanish, and French
  • Proposals may be submitted in these languages
  • Submit to reedg@who.int
  • Will be referred to appropriate Working Group
  • Should be received no later than December 31, 2011
revision proposals4
Revision Proposals

To reflect changes in the social understanding or view of diseases or disorders (e.g., removal of stigmatizing terms): This option applies in situations in which terms used in the ICD-10 are stigmatizing and may be considered demeaning by service users. Examples include the terms ‘mental retardation’ and ‘dementia’. It also may apply in situations where behavior that was previously considered inherently disordered is now more broadly considered to be normal variation in response and behavior, such as may apply to some of the categories included under Disorders of sexual preference (F65). It may also apply to proposals from various consumer groups to move particular conditions out of the chapter on Mental and Behavioural Disorders to another part of the ICD.

required content for each icd 11 category
Required Content for Each ICD-11 Category

IX. Functional Properties

X. Temporal Qualifiers

XI. Severity Qualifiers

XII. Differential Diagnosis

XIII. Differentiation from Normality

XIV. Developmental Presentations

XV. Course Features

XVI. Associated Features and Comorbidities

XVII. Culture-Related Features

XVIII. Gender-Related Features

XIX. Assessment Issues

I. Category Name

II. Relationship to ICD-10

III. Primary ‘Parent’ Category

IV. Secondary ‘Parent’ Category

V. ‘Children’ or Constituent Categories

VI. Synonyms

VII. Definition

VIII. Diagnostic Guidelines

conclusions i
Conclusions – I
  • Major advances in scientific understanding and changes in social attitudes over the past two decades regarding transgender issues
  • Strong grass-roots and human rights movement
  • Suggestions that ICD-10 has been misused
  • WHO is not invested in maintaining a conceptualization of transgender-linked health conditions as mental disorders
  • Most proposed alternative conceptualizations are still pathological, and none is entirely satisfactory
conclusions ii
Conclusions – II

We need a serious alternative proposal that:

  • facilitates appropriate access to non-coerced health care
  • Helps to protect human rights
  • Is scientifically defensible and grounded in evidence, broadly defined
  • Has a reasonable chance of being broadly acceptable to transgender people, to health care professionals, to researchers, and to Member States