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The Swedes Say Crossdressing Doesn't Indicate Mental Illness

Sweden’s The Local, which has as it’s subheader Sweden’s News In English, reported that Transvestism ‘no longer a disease’ in Sweden:

Transvestism, along with six other sexual behaviours, will be struck from Sweden’s official list of medical diagnoses starting on January 1st, 2009.

Transvestism, along with six other sexual behavioursThe National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) took the decision to declassify the behaviours as illnesses in order to avoid strengthening prejudices about them, said agency head Lars-Erik Holm.

“We don’t want to contribute to certain sexual behaviours being thought of as diseases. These individuals’ sexual preferences have nothing to do with society,” he explained in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

In reality, Sweden’s medical diagnosis system is used to gather statistics about the healthcare system. However, people have come to view the listing as a registry of accepted diseases.

The other diagnoses which will soon disappear from the disease registry include fetishism, fetishistic transvestitism, sadomasochism, gender identity disorder in youth, and multiple disorders of sexual preferences., will be struck from Sweden’s official list of medical diagnoses starting on January 1st, 2009…

The first paragraphs of the Swedish version of this story translates as follows:

After the end of the year 2009 takes away Welfare diagnosis for a range of sexual expression. Among other things disappear codes for fetishism, transvestism and Sado masochism.

It could be said that we [transgender people] have come in from the exclusion now, and it is nice not to have a “disease” anymore, “said Pia-Lena Widahr that under international accounting units Lennart.

By eliminating the disease concept of Health and Welfare wants to help reduce the prejudices of certain sexual expression in the international classification system ICD (see box). Today these are sorted in under mental illnesses and behavior disorders.

There’s some discussion on this — by taking crossdressing and the other six sexual behaviors off of the list of treatable conditions, it appears that the single-payer healthcare system no longer will pay for treatment of people who engaging in any of these sexual behaviors. So if one is experiencing depression relating to one’s crossdressing, will the Swedish welfare system pay for treatment for the depression, or disallow treatment because the underlying cause of the depression doesn’t have a medical diagnoses? I don’t know.

I have a brother who lives in Sweden, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t crossdress — I’m guessing this bit of news isn’t going to impact him directly. I’m asking him though what this means, and will report back if he answers me on this.

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Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen