A campaign that aims to end the classification of transsexuals as individuals who suffer an ‘illness’ as well as educating the general population that sexual diversity not limited to the male and female genre was launched in Lisbon this week. Identical events were held simultaneously in 38 cities in Europe, Latin America, the USA and Asia, to promote the Stop Trans Pathologisation 2012 movement that has been organized by more than 180 international associations.
Transsexualism is a condition in which an individual identifies with a physical sex different from the one they were born with. A medical diagnosis can be made if a person experiences discomfort as a result of a desire to be a member of the opposite sex, or if a person experiences impaired functioning or distress as a result of that gender identification. “The aim is to demand an end to the classification of non-conforming gender identities, like transsexual and intersexual [hermaphrodites] individuals, as mentally ill on reference documents belonging to the World Health Organisation’s American Association of Psychiatry (AAP), which will be reviewed in 2012 and 2014”, said Sérgio Vitorino of Portugal’s Pink Panther Association, which is promoting the event in this country.
Sérgio Vitorino believes the long process that individuals wanting a sex-change are subjected to leaves them open and vulnerable to social marginalization. “Contrary to what happens in Spain, sex change procedure in Portugal drag on for many years and people cannot live their lives to the full, because until they have completed the medical and processes they cannot alter their name or their genders on their identity documents”, he explained.