A trans woman has launched a legal challenge after her primary care trust decided she could not have breast implants funded by the NHS.
The woman, named only as ‘C’, says her emotional well-being has been damaged by the refusal and claims it violates her human rights.
Her lawyers also say she is a victim of sex discrimination.
The High Court heard that she began hormone therapy in 1996 but has failed to grow breasts “appropriate” to her body size.
C’s lawyer Stephanie Harrison said her client thought of herself as a woman already but needs the surgery to become female “psychologically and physically”.
According to the Daily Telegraph, she added: “The authority has failed to appreciate the significant difficulties when a transsexual seeks medical treatment which is for the purpose of resolving their disorder, in contrast with a person who seeks medical intervention for a cosmetic reason to do with their own dissatisfaction with their body image.”
West Berkshire Primary Care Trust says it will not fund surgery carried out “purely for cosmetic reasons” and warns it may be left with a bill as high as £100,000 due to the court case.
Primary care trusts can decide for themselves whether breast enlargement surgery for trans women is a cosmetic or medical procedure. Some will only fund reconstructive surgery for breast cancer sufferers.
Last month, a trans woman from Southend said she had been left “half man and half woman” after her primary care trust refused pay for her breast surgery,
Miranda Lee, 40, began living as a woman two years ago and had her genital surgery and other treatments on the NHS last year.
South East Essex Primary Care Trust is standing by its policy of only funding the operations for women who have suffered breast cancer.