Mexico is leading a campaign that demands the World Health Organization declassify transgender identity as a mental disorder in its global list of medical conditions.
The petition is based on a study published Thursday in the British medical magazine The Lancet Psychiatry journal, which after more than two years of research simply concludes that transgender people are not "mentally ill."
According to The New York Times, the status change has so far been approved by each committee that has considered it and any change would be reflected in the next edition of the WHO codebook, which classifies diseases and influences the treatment of patients worldwide.
The study is the first of its kind and was conducted by Geoffrey M. Reed from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, and Rebeca Robles from the National Institute of Psychiatry.
They interviewed 250 transgender people and found that their problems of distress and dysfunction are strongly linked with experiences of “social rejection and violence” rather than the experiences of gender itself.
Similar investigations are currently underway in Brazil, France, India, Lebanon and South Africa.
"The stigma associated with mental disorders and transgender identity have contributed to the precarious legal status, human rights violation and barriers to give an appropriate attention for transgender people," said Reed in a statement.
According to LGBT activists, the decades-old designation of transgender identity as a mental disorder has been misused to justify the creation of barriers to access to health services, contributing to the perception that transgender people should be treated by specialists in psychiatry.