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LGBT groups in Peru criticize decree that classifies transsexuality as a disease

The LGBTQIA+ community in Peru criticized a decree from the South American country's Ministry of Health that qualifies transsexuals and other categories of gender identity as “people with mental health problems”.

The Peruvian government issued a decree on Friday (10) updating the Essential Health Plan (PEAS). This plan, signed by President Dina Boluarte, represents the minimum benefits plan that a person receives when subscribing to public, private or mixed health insurance.

In PEAS, the basic medical procedures that a person can access are specified.

The update includes what the government calls “transsexualism, dual-role transvestism, childhood gender identity disorder, gender identity disorder not otherwise specified, fetishistic transvestism and egodystonic sexual orientation” in “people with mental health problems” in the PEAS.

On Sunday (12), the Ministry of Health pointed out in a statement that gender and sexual diversity “are not diseases” or “disorders”.

“We express our respect for gender identities, as well as our rejection of the stigmatization of sexual diversity in the country,” says the statement.

In the statement from the Ministry of Health, the ministry states that the regulations have been updated to “ensure that coverage of mental health care is complete”.

The note does not clarify whether there will be changes to the standard already published in the official newspaper, highlighting only that, for the ministry, “gender and sexual diversity are not diseases”.

Even so, it maintains that the updated standard is based on ICD-10, a regulation from the World Health Organization (WHO) that established “transsexualism” as a “sexual identity disorder” and that is not valid since 2022.

What does the standard say?

According to the decree, this incorporation is based on ICD-10, a WHO regulation that includes an International Classification of Diseases made up of codes used around the world.

The institution explains, in the statement, that ICD-10 remains “in force in our country” while the progressive implementation of ICD-11 begins, as well as in other countries in the region.

The World Health Organization published ICD-11 as a new International Classification of Diseases that came into force in 2022, which eliminates gender identity categories from the disease chapter.

Possible protests

The LGBQIA+ community in Peru has not ruled out holding a peaceful protest, highlighting that the government's decision puts them “in serious danger”.

A CNN spoke with Jorge Apolaya, spokesperson for the Marcha do Orgulho LGBTI collective, who said that it is “a serious danger and a setback to apply ICD-10 throughout the state apparatus”.

Apolaya explains that the new WHO regulations, that is, the ICD-11, fail to “consider sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as a disease”.

“In other words, an employee who cares for an LGBTI person will be able to confidently rely on ICD-10 to be able to say 'actually, what you have is a disease, because we are governed by ICD-10, therefore, it is an open door to the pathologization [da transsexualidade]”, he assessed.

“It is also an open door to the danger that this means, because conversion therapy tries to convert people, supposedly, into heterosexuals”, he added.

In Sunday's statement, the Ministry of Health stated that a person's sexual orientation and gender identity “does not in themselves constitute a physical and mental health disorder” and that, therefore, “they should not be subjected to treatment, medical care or so-called conversion therapies”.

LGBTQIA+ organizations “have come together on one platform and probably nowadays we will be able to agree to go out in a peaceful protest or march”, said the group's spokesperson.

In turn, the organization Más Igualdad Perú presented on Monday (13) a letter addressed to the Peruvian Ministry of Health in protest against the inclusion of ICD-10 in the decree.

The letter is signed by 414 mental health professionals and has the support of 176 human rights organizations, the group noted.

A CNN contacted the Peruvian Ministry of Health, but received no response.

Source: CNN Brasil

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