WHO takes bdsm and fetishism off the sick list


The World Health Organization (WHO) follows the Nordic countries in repealing sexual minorities with consenting practices from the International Classification of Diseases in the new ICD-11 revision. 

(Updated August 31, 2018)

RESEARCH AND HEALTH POLITICS: “Due to advances in research and clinical practice, major shifts in social attitudes and in relevant policies, and human rights standards”, the World Health Organization June 18, 2018, removes Fetishism, Transvestic Fetishism and Sadomasochism as psychiatric diagnoses.


Helene Delilah and Svein Skeid roleplaying getting off the WHO sick list at the stage during Europride in Stockholm August 4, 2018.

The new ICD-11 classification (for the very first time) clearly distinguishes BDSM from harmful violence, in accordance with recommendations from Revise F65.

PRIVATE BEHAVIOUR: ”From WHO’s perspective, there is an important distinction between conditions that are relevant to public health and indicate the need for health services versus those that are simply descriptions of private behaviour without appreciable public health impact and for which treatment is neither indicated nor sought.”

VARIANTS IN SEXUAL AROUSAL: The new ICD classification consider Fetishism, Fetishistic Transvestism and Sadomasochism as variants in sexual arousal.

DISCRIMINATION: Psychiatric diagnoses can no longer be used to discriminate against fetishists and bdsm people. WHO’s Working Group on Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health admit that psychiatric diagnoses has been abused to harass, silence, or imprison leather men and bdsm women.

HUMAN RIGHTS: The Working Group emphasize that a disease label may create violence and discrimination and consider stigmatization of fetishism and bdsm as inconsistent with human rights principles endorsed by the UN and the WHO.


– This is a milestone in the work for human rights and sexual liberation, says Ingvild Endestad, leader of FRI, the Norwegian LGBT organisation for sexual and gender diversity. Consensual sexuality has nothing to do with psychiatry. This is an immensely important recognition of the sexual diversity among us, she says.

Ingvild Endestad. Photo: FRI.

Endestad gives Svein Skeid and FRI’s Revise F65 committee much of the credit for the victory. Human rights standards are part of the professional basis for the reform and the recommendations from Revise F65 are entirely taken into account.

 – The work to remove bdsm and fetish diagnoses has been part of the Norwegian LGBT organisation since 1996. After more than 20 years of sexual political efforts the Revise F65 committee, with Svein Skeid in the lead, has fulfilled its mandate both nationally (2010) and internationally, she says.

– The withdrawal of fetishism, fetishistic transvestism, and sadomasochism as mental illnesses can lead to the same pride and freedom that other queer groups enjoy. The revision of the F65 ICD chapter can also make it easier to encourage research, get rid of anti bdsm laws and become included in national laws against discrimination, Endestad concludes.

Read responses from fetish/bdsm people to WHO’s June 18 announcement:

Susan Wright in the American organization NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom) reports July 12, 2018 about a child custody case in Belgium. The woman was so glad Revise F65 did this work so she has a defense.

Polish Marcin has been in contact with Revise F65 since 2012. June 21, 2018 he writes:

”… that was great news, I had some personal problem with that – my previos wife tries to take my kid from me, and I have to go to several sexologist and psychiatrist to prove, that I’m normal. Now I can tell everyone, that I’m normal, and I have it in written ;).”

Mike W on the #gear365 FB group writes June 22, 2018:

“… this is an excellent posting. It’s well timed with my discovery of #Gear365. In a short space of time the international encouragement to get out and be who I am has done what years and years of angst and stress failed to achieve. Thanks guys, a huge thanks!



Admin Nigel publised June 20, 2018 on

– No more sick filth!

Just in time for Pride, over twenty years of hard work by BLUF member Svein Skeid aka oslosuB (641) have paid off, with the World Health Organisation revising its classification of diseases, removing fetishism and BDSM.

More reactions June 22, 2018:

”Finally, some fucking good news today.”

”This is great news for all of us in to fetish gear and BDSM. Now our leather and rubber communities can grow and we can wear our gear proudly.”

”This is absolutely tremendous news, Svein! Thanks for all your efforts to bring our amazing community out of the WHO biggot list once and for all. You’re a true hero!”

Ground-breaking pioneering work

Svein Skeid and Odd Reiersøl. Photo: private.

Denmark, which removed sadomasochism from its national list of diseases in 1995, was our big source of inspiration, says Svein Skeid, the leader of Revise F65. Skeid and psychologist Odd Reiersøl started a ground-breaking cooperation across national borders and sexual orientations where dozens of activists, organizations and professionals contributed.

– It is very important for these individuals that society recognizes them as equal citizens, expressed the director of the health department, Lars-Erik Holm, to the newspaper Dagens Nyheter November 11th 2008, when the three diagnoses were abolished in Sweden.

– I heard the news on a Norwegian radio station and understood that an equivalent removal could also be within reach in Norway, Skeid tells.

– I had recently been in Stockholm during Europride and given the organization RFSU our arguments, he says. I became very touched by the Director General’s statement: ”The health department wants to emphasize that these behaviors are neither illnesses nor perversions.”

The Nordic model

MORE CELEBRATION: Svein Skeid in the middle. From Bergen Pride June 9th 2018. Photo: private.

– Within 6 years the diagnoses were repealed in all the Nordic countries, patterned after the Norwegian model and the pioneering work of Revise F65, psychologist Odd Reiersøl tells. – Thus the pressure increased on The World Health Organisation to follow suit. After a while Revise F65 achieved direct contact with the authorities in Geneva.

– In 2009 we received a commission from Senior Project Officer Dr. Geoffrey Reed, who has been the leader of WHO’s Working Group on Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health. This resulted in a 3 page report documenting that the diagnoses in question are outdated, non scientific, and stigmatizing, says Reiersøl.

Dr. Reed asked for additional evidence, and November 11, 2011 ReviseF65 delivered a 50 page summary of research based knowledge, documenting that sadomasochism and sexual violence are two different phenomena. Among other things, the fetish/bdsm population has equivalent scores with the rest of the population regarding democratic values such as empathy, responsibility and gender equality.

Already the next day Dr. Reed gave feedback about perfect timing since the revision committee soon would have their very first meeting discussing the reports.

June 18, 2018 the World Health Organisation removed the three fetish and bdsm diagnoses globally. All recommendations from Revise F65 were taken into account in the new revised ICD-11 classification, because the diagnoses of Fetishism, Fetishistic transvestism and Sadomasochism, according to WHO’s Working Group, not are ”relevant to public health and clinical psychopathology” but ”merely reflect private behaviour”. These substantial changes are, according to WHO, ”based on advances in research and clinical practice, and major shifts in social attitudes and in relevant policies, laws, and human rights standards”.

The revision is scheduled to be finally adopted in 2019 and the manual can be employed from January 1, 2022.

#revisef65 #offthesicklist #humanrights #fetishrights #bdsmrights #fetishrightsarehumanrights #bdsmrightsarehumanrights #proudtobeahealthyperv #nomoresickfilth #gear365 #FIGHT #proudperverts #healthyperverts #leatherpride #beyourself #beproudofwhoyouare #fetishpride



Fact box:

Respect, trust and love is basic in a bdsm relationship. Photo published with permission by

* BDSM is a sexual identity/orientation about voluntarily to dominate or being dominated, or voluntarily give or receive pain.

* Fetishism is a sexuality involving specific objects, actions or ideas, which give sexual exitement and pleasure.

* The right to have control over one’s own sexuality and the right to privacy have been fundamental in the work to repeal homosexuality and subsequently fetishism and sadomasochism as mentally illnesses.

* The Norwegian LGBT organisation FRI in 1997 established a committee to work for the national and international repeal of bdsm and fetish diagnoses. In 2010 the diagnoses were removed from the Norwegian list of diseases. In 2018 the World Health Organisation followed suit.


Ingvild Endestad is leader of the LGBT-organisation FRI, the Norwegian organisation for sexual and gender diversity. E-mail: Phone: +47 97 56 22 95.

Svein Skeid is founder and leader of the Revise F65 project. He is award-winning for his work in the field of bdsm human rights for three decades. He is a Norwegian registered physiotherapist with professional background in psychiatry. E-mail: Mobile: +47 95 80 29 85.

Odd Reiersøl is an experienced Norwegian psychologist for 30 years working with adults, couples and groups and educating other professionals. E-mail: Mobile: +47 94 03 46 88.

Norsk Seksualpolitikk

ILGA vil fjerne sm-diagnoser

Hentet fra Skeive nyheter 9.11.1999

Av Svein Skeid

Europakonferansen til den internasjonale lesbe- og homseorganisasjonen ILGA i Pisa 20.-24. oktober 1999, vedtok å støtte LLHs arbeid med å fjerne fetisjisme og sm som psykiatriske diagnoser fra sykdomslista til Verdens Helseorganisasjon, WHO. Det ble også avholdt en egen workshop som blant annet diskuterte hvordan friske mennesker faktisk kan bli syke av å bli stemplet som syke.

– Diskusjonen på workshopen viste at de frammøtte i store trekk var enige med det norske diagnose-utvalget både når det gjelder hva som bør endres i diagnoselisten og når det gjelder strategi, sier den norske delegaten Ole Johnsen til Skeive nyheter.

Ved siden av å støtte det norske arbeidet med å bygge opp et europeisk nettverk mot umyndiggjørende fetisj-diagnoser, pålegges ILGA-Europas styre å hjelpe nettverket, blant annet ved å gjøre det mulig å sende ut informasjon til medlemsorganisasjonene gjennom nyhetsbrevet Euroletter. – Ved konferansen i Bucuresti i oktober 2000 vil det være mulig å knytte prosjektet tettere til ILGA-Europas styre, sier Ole Johnsen. ILGA-vedtaket innebærer at det norske nettverket skal rapportere tilbake til neste års europa-konferanse. Ole Johnsen var delegat for LLH-Bergen og talsperson for sm/fetisj-utvalget på ILGAs europakonferanse. Ole Johnsen var leder av tidligere HBB, Homofil Bevegelse i Bergen.

I tillegg til de formelle vedtakene, knyttet Ole Johnsen verdifulle kontakter i forhold til det videre nettverkskapende arbeidet – blant annet med italienske, tyske og nederlandske ressurspersoner ved siden av et medlem av den franske gruppen som tilsvarer den norske Åpen Kirkegruppe. Vedkommende ble valgt inn i ILGA Europas styre, og Ole mener hun vil bli en god støttespiller i det videre arbeidet. Dessuten ble aktivister fra hele Europa gjort oppmerksomme på problemet, og flere vil høre om det, hvilket Ole Johnsen anser som en god start.

Konferansen ble et viktig skritt i retning av å bygge opp et europeisk nettverk for å arbeide for at fetisjisme og sm blir fjernet som psykiatriske diagnoser fra sykdomslista til Verdens Helseorganisasjon, WHO. – Det er skadelig å bli lurt til å tro at man er syk, og prinsipielt nedverdigende, sa Ole Johnsen i månedsavisa Blikks novemberutgave. Ole Johnsen tror imidlertid det er lang vei å gå før diagnosene kan bli fjernet, noe som begrunnes med den manglende interesse entusiasme fra fagmiljøet i denne saken.

I 1995 fjernet Danmark, som det første og fortsatt eneste landet i Europa, fetisjisme og sm som mentale diagnoser. I USA skjedde det en endring av de såkalte parafiliene i 1994. Da bestemte den amerikanske psykiaterforeningen å endre diagnosene slik at den bare gjelder når den seksuelle adferden, sexbehovene eller fantasiene fører til psykiske og sosiale problemer. Dette oppfatter amerikanske lærhomoer som et stort fremskritt og inspirasjonskilde for det store flertallet som praktiserer ansvarlig, samtykkende og likestilt sm-sex. Dette skjer over 20 år etter den amerikanske avdiagnostiseringen av homoseksualitet.

Den internasjonale homoorganisasjonen ILGA støttet i sin tid også de dømte lærhomsene i den engelske Spanner-saken. Ole ønsker nå å fremme et forslag for LLHs neste landsstyremøte som sanksjonerer det europeiske nettverket og LLHs rolle i det. Dette anser han som en naturlig oppfølging av vedtakene på to påfølgende LLH-landsmøter – i 1996 og 1998, som vedtok å arbeide for å fjerne sykdomsdiagnostiseringen av lær- og sm-homoer. I 1998 ble det vedtatt å sette ned et bredt sammensatt utvalg bestående fetisj, sm, transe-personer ved siden av fagpersoner på området. Vedtaket i Pisa er et resultat av utvalgets arbeid.