Is Transexualism a Mental Illness?

Have you ever though transexuals were psychologically retarded? Well, in every country, transexuals are scientifically recognised as mentally ill. The good news is: not in France anymore.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=transexual&iid=309212″ src=”0305/0000305939.jpg?adImageId=10999398&imageId=309212″ width=”234″ height=”312″ /] Until the begining of the 70’s, homosexuality was viewed by psychologists as a mental illness in most countries. Back then, as we all know, the gay rights movement arose and could move things forward.

As of today February 10th, 2010, transexuals are still considered mentally ill everywhere in the world, except in France.

A “symbolic victory”

According to the Trans World secretariat,

“numerous personalities including first secretary of the Socialist Party Martine Aubry, the communist Marie-George Buffet, Green (party member) Daniel Cohn-Bendit and even Nobel Prize winners such as Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (medicine) and Elfriede Jelinek (literature), asked the World Health Organization (WHO) ‘to no longer consider transsexuals as being affected by a mental disorder'”.

One should remember that it is

“because the WHO decided on the 17th of May 1990 to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses, that this date has been retained for the International Day Against Homophobia and transphobia, celebrated Sunday, starting Saturday in many places. It is therefore symbolic that France chose this time and date”.

By removing transexualism from its list of mental disorders, the French pride themselves for being the initiators of a state-level open-mindedness toward transgenders. They are indeed pioneering an evolution in the moral values of societies which tend to classify indivuals on their variable degrees of conformity.

But…is France truly accepting Transexuals?

However groundbreaking the news might be, many transexuals still say France is a long way from being a “paradise for transsexual citizens“.

As Gaelle Faure, from the Time Magazine online, notes:

“in practice, the declaration will do little to improve their legal or medical rights in the country.”

Today, men who identify as women in France can’t be legally recognised as women unless they have undergone a sex change. However, many transexuals struggle to get an operation in France. They don’t have the choice of their surgeons and the hospitals are often under-equipped for such operations.

Hence, laws in France make transexuals loose their identity if they refuse to be considered something that they are not.

Other countries are one step ahead in legal terms. As Times Magazine points out:

“Spain requires transsexuals only to undergo some form of hormonal treatment to modify their physical appearance before it will issue new documents, while the British simply ask applicants, with recommendations from their doctors, to promise to live out the rest of their lives as their chosen sex.”

France might therefore be taking a step forward but there is a lot left to do.

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