France has become one of the first countries in the world to remove transsexualism from its list of mental disorders.

Wednesday’s historic government decree came after the Minister of Health, Roselyne Bachelot, appealed in recent days to the High Authority of Health to remove transsexualism from the category of psychiatric disorders.

The move was widely hailed by LGBTI organisations in France and around the world. The Association for Homosexuality and Socialism said that the announcement was in response to “demands that the LGBT community have been making for a long time in France”.

Until now, trans people benefited from a fee waiver for their medical care by being classified under ALD23 (affection de longue durée 23 – long term condition 23) for “recurring or persistent disorders”.

Transsexualism remains classified as a mental illness by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is widely used by the medical profession around the world.

Homosexuality was removed from the DSM as a psychiatric disorder in 1973 and the WHO followed suit in the early 1990’s.

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