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President of Peru classifies trans people as mentally ill

The Peruvian government’s decision is being seen as a significant setback in inclusion policies

Peru has just taken a giant step back with Supreme Decree N° 009-2024-SA, signed by the president, Dina Boluarte, on the eve of the International Day against Homophobia, on May 17th. The Decree classifies trans men and women as “patients with mental illnesses”.

In publishing the document, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) of Peru argued that the measure aims to facilitate access for trans people to free psychological treatment.

The decree defines that “transsexuality, dual-role transvestism, childhood gender identity disorder, gender identity disorders, fetishistic transvestism and egodystonic sexual orientation” are considered mental health problems. This decision disregards that the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) list in 1990.

The Peruvian government’s decision is being seen as a significant setback in inclusion and respect for diversity policies. Activists highlight that the recognition and acceptance of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations are fundamental to the mental health and well-being of LGBT+ people. The approach adopted by the decree, instead of offering support, can worsen the psychological suffering and marginalization of trans and gender non-conforming individuals.

The international context is also relevant. In several countries, legislative and social advances are being made to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ people and promote equality. The inclusion of trans identities as mental illnesses in Peru stands in stark contrast to these developments.

In 2018, the WHO revised its classification and removed transsexuality from the list of mental disorders, recognizing the importance of addressing these issues in a depathologized way.

Source: Maxima

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