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Transvestism 'no longer a disease' in Sweden

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Transvestism 'no longer a disease' in Sweden
08:26 CET+01:00
Transvestism, along with six other sexual behaviours, will be struck from Sweden’s official list of medical diagnoses starting on January 1st, 2009.

The 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.

Holm said that the changes emphasize that these behaviours are not illnesses in and of themselves, nor are they something perverse.

"These diagnoses are rooted in a time when everything other than the heterosexual missionary position were seen as sexual perversions," he said.

It was 30 years ago when Socialstyrelsen took a similar step in removing homosexuality from Sweden’s list of diagnoses.

The agency's decision was met with joy by transvestite Sara Lund/Claes Schmidt, who is known as Sara-Claes.

"We've been fighting for this for a long so this is really great news," said Sara-Claes.

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