British transsexual loses state-funded breast enlargement bid

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A 58-year-old British transsexual on Tuesday lost her court battle over the state-funded health service's refusal to pay for a breast enlargement, which she claimed violated her human rights.

Identified only as "C" for legal reasons, the gender identity disorder (GID) sufferer -- referring to people unhappy with their sex -- has been living as a woman for more than a decade.

Her breasts failed to develop sufficiently following hormonal treatment, leaving her in physical and psychological "limbo".

The transsexual, who is from the Reading area west of London, challenged the local National Health Service branch's refusal to pay for breast augmentation surgery, at a cost of 2,300 pounds (3,300 dollars, 2,700 euros).

West Berkshire Primary Care Trust said it was not an essential part of GID treatment and there was no evidence it would improve her health.

At the High Court in London, judge David Bean dismissed her claim for judicial review and refused leave to appeal.

"There was no duty in either public law or discrimination law to classify all treatment and procedures sought by transsexuals as high priority or core procedures," he said.

During the three-day hearing, the woman's state-funded lawyers claimed the refusal violated her human rights and amounted to sex discrimination.

They claimed "C" should not be compared with a woman unhappy with her body image and wanting an operation "for cosmetic reasons".

Her condition meant she experienced distress as "a woman living in a man's body".

There was medical evidence that, without effective treatment, her condition would deteriorate with the risk of self-harm and depression, they had argued.

© 2010 AFP

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