The legal right of a transsexual to NHS funding for a breast enlargement operation is due to be ruled on by the High Court.
The case centres on a gender dysphoria sufferer known as “C”, who cannot be named for legal reasons and who has been living as a woman for over a decade.
The 58 year old’s bust has failed to develop sufficiently after hormonal treatment and C has now been left in physical and psychological “limbo”, Mr Justice Bean was told.
West Berkshire Primary Care Trust’s refusal to fund her £2,300 breast augmentation surgery is being challenged by lawyers acting for C. The refusal amounts to sex discrimination and violates her human rights, the lawyers argued at a recent three-day hearing at London’s High Court.
Stephanie Harrison QC, appearing for C, said she should not be compared with a woman unhappy with her body image and wanting an operation “for cosmetic reasons”. She was suffering from gender identity disorder (GID), a recognised medical condition, and experiencing real distress as “a woman living in a man’s body”.
The PCT argued that breast surgery was not an essential part of GID treatment and there was no good evidence that it would be cost effective or improve C’s health.
James Goudie QC, appearing for the PCT, said C’s case appeared in part to rely on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to private and family life. He said: “Advancing human rights and promoting equality are great concepts which are damaged if they are abused.”