A transsexual man has taken an NHS Primary Care Trust (PCT) to court because it refused to pay for him to have bigger breasts.
The man, known only as C, claims the Trust’s refusal is a breach of his human rights, and is a case of sex discrimination.
But West Berkshire PCT denies there is a health reason for the procedure, and say the surgery would be “purely for cosmetic reasons”.
C, who still has his male genitalia, began hormonal therapy in 1996 in a bid to look like a woman.
But last week the High Court was told that the hormone treatment did not produce breasts “appropriate” to his “size and frame”.
The court also heard that C was not ready to undergo further surgery to look like a woman because he hadn’t achieved in his “own mind the conditions necessary for becoming physically female because of the inadequate breasts produced by hormonal therapy.”
High Court judge Mr Justice Bean has deferred judgement until a later date.
This case is likely to alarm critics who warn that gender dysphoria is a psychological problem, not a physical one.
In 2002 doctors from the NHS Portman Clinic – an internationally acclaimed centre – stated that after surgery, “what many patients find is that they are left with a mutilated body, but the internal conflicts remain”.
Many transsexuals regret their decision to live in the opposite sex. A Home Office report on transsexualism, released in April 2000, said: “Many people revert to their biological sex after living for some time in the opposite sex”.
And in 2007 a leading psychiatrist for gender dysphoria, Dr Russell Reid, was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council (GMC).
The tribunal concluded that the doctor had acted inappropriately and not in the best interests of his patients after complaints that he had rushed five patients into hormone treatment and sex change surgery without properly assessing them.
In March it was revealed that a transsexual man wanted to be recognised as a man in the marriage system and a woman in the pension system.
Christopher Timbrell, who changed his name to Christine, was in the Court of Appeal with a case against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Mr Timbrell said he should have the same pension benefits as a woman and receive backdated funds but still be allowed to be married to his wife.
While he is 68, a woman’s pension benefits begin at 60 and a man’s begin at 65.