Sweden to stop calling transgender people ‘mentally ill’

Transgender people will no longer be classified as “mentally ill” in Sweden, the country’s main national health authority has announced, in a decision widely criticised as overdue.

Sweden to stop calling transgender people 'mentally ill'
An archive picture of Swedes protesting against classifying transgender people as mentally ill. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT
Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare, or Socialstyrelsen, announced late on Friday that it would no longer automatically apply the diagnosis “gender dysphoria” to transgender patients.
“…more than anything, this change has an important symbolic value,” Kristina Bränd Persson, the organisation’s head, said in a press release. “This is a completely reasonable change. Many divisions and categories are obsolete. For us, the decision is uncontroversial. We tend to follow the changes the WHO makes.” 
The decision was widely ridiculed on Twitter.  
“At fucking bloody last!” tweeted Leo Ringqvist. “We are not ill, most of all mentally.”  

“Wake me! Is it 2017 or 1817,” complained Ewa-Maria Åström. 

The move follows a decision made by the World Health Organisation in October to remove the transsexualism classification from the chapter on mental illness in its diagnostic guide.  
“This is welcome but no surprise,” said Frida Sandegård, chairperson of RFSL, which lobbies for the rights of gay, bisexual and transgender people.  
Transgender people have complained of receiving unwelcome questions and stigmatising treatment when dealing with health professionals in Sweden. 
The agency said the change would not take place immediately, as it would first have to incorporate the decision into its own national version of ICD-10, the latest disease classification manual issued by the WHO. 
The work is expected to be completed this year. 


Transgender YouTube star Viktoria, 14, wins plaudits at Swedish gala

A 14-year-old transgender girl whose YouTube channel dealing with gender identity issues has become a national hit in Sweden, won plaudits at a glitzy awards ceremony for the country's gay, bisexual and transgender communities on Monday.

Transgender YouTube star Viktoria, 14, wins plaudits at Swedish gala
Viktoria Harrysson, 14, accepts her award on Monday. Photo: Erik Simander/TT
Viktoria Harrysson, who has 50,000 followers on YouTube, was awarded the Transgender of the Year prize at the televised QX Gay Gala. Viktoria says she realized she was a girl when she was ten.
In an emotional speech she thanked her parents, who also attended the gala, for supporting her.
“This is such a big thing. I feel like a sweaty potato, but I am so happy,” she said. She was awarded the prize by Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, best known as the person who announces the winner of the Nobel Literature Prize.
Other prizes went to ice hockey player Anders Nilsson, who was awarded Hetero of the Year. The Swede, who plays for the Vancouver Canucks in Canada, won the prize for wearing a helmet painted in the colours of the rainbow to show his support for diversity in sport. 
The Homo of the Year prize went to veteran performer and drag artist Christer Lindarw.
Christer Lindarw, Homo of the Year. Photo: Erik Simander/TT 
A special prize for Kiss of the Year went to the stars of an ad for Canal Digital, Irish model Shane and English actor Paul, who flew in from London to receive the award. See the film below:
The popularity of the gala, which was celebrating its twentieth anniversary, was underlined by the stream of international singers who turned out to perform. They included gay favourites Mel C of the Spice Girls and Israeli Eurovision winner Dana International. Other performers included Harpo, who sung Moviestar, his global hit from 1976, and current Swedish favourite Kamferdrops with Jag trodde änglarna fanns. 
Mel C. Photo: Erik Simander/TT 
There were serious notes too: Helena Bergström paid tribute to fellow actor Rikard Wolff, who died last year at the age of 59. And TV producer Christer Björkman, who won a prize for his book Generalen, added a note of caution to the celebrations:
“We must keep reminding ourselves, our families, friends and the media that all these steps forward can easily be reversed. We can never allow that to happen.”

“Movie star” #qxgalan

Ett inlägg delat av The Local Sweden (@thelocalsweden) 5 Feb 2018 kl. 2:43 PST