Canadian province still lists homosexuality as a mental illness

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The Canadian province of Alberta still classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, government records show.

Between 1995 and 2004, doctors cited the diagnostic code more than 1,750 times when billing the province for treating gays and lesbians, the Vabcouver Sun reports.

The figures were uncovered by human rights activist Rob Wells, who has been campaigning on the issue for ten years.

Although the government promised in 1998 to remove the reference to homosexuality, health minister Gene Zwozdesky repeated the promise yesterday and said: “It has no place in Alberta.”

He added: “It is simply an incorrect and unacceptable classification and I’ve ordered it to be removed immediately.”

Homosexuality was removed from the list of mental disorders by the World Health Organisation in 1990.

Alberta’s diagnostic codes were last updated in 2005 and it was not clear why homosexuality remained in the list.

The Alberta Medical Association said the diagnostic code was not its responsibility, while a Alberta Health and Wellness spokesman said that the codes were based on an earlier edition of the World Health Organisation’s guidelines.

However, transsexualism remains in the list of mental disorders, along with paedophilia, bestiality, transvestism and impotence, among others.

In February, France became the first country to de-list transsexualism as a mental illness.

The World Health Organisation and the American Psychiatric Association continue to list the condition as a mental illness, rather than a medical condition.