updated 11/19/2008 2:06:51 PM ET 2008-11-19T19:06:51

Swedish health officials say they will remove transvestism, fetishism and sadomasochism from the country's official list of diseases and mental disorders.

The National Board of Welfare says labeling those aspects of sexual behavior and gender identity as disorders can add to prejudices in society. Gay and transgender rights activists welcomed this week's decision.

The board's director Lars-Erik Holm says he will raise the issue internationally when the World Health Organization starts the process of renewing its classifications.

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