WHO takes bdsm and fetishism off the sick list




The European ReviseF65 movement won a great victory June 18, 2018 when the World Health Organization (WHO) removed Fetishism and Sadomasochism as mental diseases from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

The ReviseF65 committee has since 2007 worked close to WHO’s Working Group on Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health to repeal the diagnoses, and we got more than we asked for. Leather, fetish and BDSM people now have the same rights and status as other sexual minorities, according to WHO.


Rallying for Fetish human rights during Folsom Europe in Berlin 2018.

According to ICD-11, discrimination of fetish and bdsm people are considered inconsistent with human rights principles endorsed by the UN and the WHO.

MAJOR SHIFTS: 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, removed Fetishism, Transvestic Fetishism and Sadomasochism as psychiatric diagnoses.

BDSM IS NOT VIOLENCE: 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.”

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

RESPECT: The ICD-11 guidelines ”respect the rights of individuals whose atypical sexual behavior is consensual and not harmful.”

ABUSE OF BDSM PEOPLE: WHO’s ICD-11 Working Group admits that psychiatric diagnoses has been abused to harass, silence, or imprison sadomasochists. Labeling them as such may create harm, convey social judgment and exacerbate existing stigma and violence to individuals so labeled.

DISCRIMINATION: According to ICD-11, psychiatric diagnoses can no longer be used to discriminate against BDSM people and fetishists.

CHANGING LAWS: This landmark of a human rights reform have potential to remove anti bdsm laws in several countries and include sexual identity/fetish/bdsm in national laws against discrimination along with other minority groups.

SPREAD THE WORD: The challenge now is to reach out with this landmark of a human rights reform so that attitudes can change, empowering pride and identity in our community. You can help informing like-minded people and inspire others to do the same – in meetings, social settings, social networks and media. You can possibly also encourage others to engage in further sexual political work to follow up the WHO reform.


Responses to WHO’s June 18 announcement:

We already have got inquiries from therapists who want to hang up our banner in their health practices to inform about the reform.


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.”



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!




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!”


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 ;).”


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

CELEBRATION DURING BERGEN PRIDE: Svein Skeid in the middle. 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.

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.



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: [email protected]. 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: [email protected]. Mobile: +47 94 03 46 88.