Global physicians group promises to treat transgenders with respect

Monday, 19 October 2015 23:09 GMT

A transgender person is seen during a rally to demand an investigation of homophobic crimes in San Salvador May 19, 2012. AREUTERS/Ulises Rodriguez

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The guidelines explicitly reject "coercive treatment or forced behavior modification"

NEW YORK, Oct 19 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The World Medical Association, representing more than ten million physicians, has adopted guidelines to treat transgender people in ways that respect their choices and rights and do not question their sexuality, the global group said.

Delegates in the group from nearly 60 national medical associations adopted a blueprint on how to treat transgender people at a meeting on Sunday in Moscow, the WMA said in a statement.

The guidelines recognize that being transgender is not a disorder and explicitly reject "coercive treatment or forced behavior modification," the statement said.

The move responds to a need to provide transgender people with healthcare that accounts for their individual choices and rights, WMA Secretary General Otmar Kloiber told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

In the past, some treatment of transgender people has occurred with disregard for their unique needs "and often this has happened with the participation of the physician," he said.

Based in France, the WMA represents 112 member associations worldwide from Nigeria to Cuba and the United States.

Earlier this year, the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog, called on 47 countries to protect the rights of transgender people, abolish medical procedures needed to change legal gender and make transgender-specific healthcare accessible.

In order to have desired gender legally recognized by the government, most countries in Europe require transgender people to undergo genital removal surgery and sterilization, be diagnosed with a mental disorder and get divorced if married.

Worldwide, transgender people comprise about one in every 30,000 people, according to an estimate cited by the Center for Excellence for Transgender Health at the University of California, San Francisco.

A 2014 Amnesty International estimate tallied up to 1.5 million transgender people across the European Union.

(Reporting by Sebastien Malo, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit

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