A trans woman who was denied breast enlargement surgery is taking her primary care trust to court.
The patient, known only as ‘C’, has been living as a woman for ten years and has undergone hormone treatment, although she has not had any other surgery.
According to the Daily Telegraph, she argues that she will suffer great distress if Berkshire Primary Care Trust will not provide the surgery, saying it is essential to her identity as a woman.
Her case will be heard at the High Court on October 20th.
Berkshire PCT will only fund breast enlargement in “exceptional circumstances” and has only funded one such procedure in the past three years, for a woman who was deeply distressed at the size of her breasts.
It decided that C’s case was not exceptional.
Stephanie Harrison, C’s barrister, told a preliminary hearing that the patient had been discriminated against because she had been treated exactly in the same way a biological woman without gender dysphoria would have been treated.
She argued: “Breast augmentation is not cosmetic surgery, it is a treatment for gender dysphoria. This is a treatment for a recognised medical condition.
“The fact that someone is transsexual is treated as irrelevant by the PCT. It is a legal error to say that you must treat transsexual females and natal females the same”.
Harrison claims that the PCT’s refusal to fund the operation is a violation of her human rights. C is claiming direct discrimination under the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act.
However, barrister for the PCT David Lock argued that C’s case was fundamentally flawed because it could not be shown that she was treated any less favourably than a biological woman.
He said she had been considered under the PCT’s trans policy, rather than as a biological woman.
Lock also expressed frustration at the “huge” costs of the case, estimated to be tens of thousands of pounds.
He said: “Public bodies who have to make rationing decisions, like PCTs, face enormous difficulties. Wherever you draw the line, there will be those who are disappointed.
“It would make the job of PCTs virtually impossible if their decisions were constantly attacked. We are a public body that prefers to spend its money on treating patients. The costs and complexity of this case are already huge.”