A transsexual man has won the right to be treated as a man in the marriage system and a woman in the pension system.
Christopher Timbrell, who has changed his name to Christine, yesterday won his case against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Three Appeal Court judges ruled he was being discriminated against by not receiving a woman’s pension and he will now be paid backdated funds.
Under the Gender Recognition Act Mr Timbrell can apply to be viewed in law as a woman but he must first dissolve or annul his marriage.
Mr Timbrell is still married to his wife, Joy, and they say they do not want to divorce.
Two women cannot be legally married in the UK but the Court decided that Mr Timbrell should be allowed to remain married to his wife, and claim a woman’s pension.
Mr Timbrell underwent sex change surgery when he was 59 and applied for a pension at the female retirement age of 60.
But he was denied the funds and told he must wait until 65, the legal retirement age for men.
Lord Justice Aikens, giving the ruling, said that under EU rules the Department for Work and Pensions was “obliged to recognise that Ms Timbrell had a right, by virtue of her acquired gender, to retirement pension from her 60th birthday”.
In March Mr Timbrell commented: “The Department of Work and Pensions say the remedy is for us to divorce and go into a civil partnership, but we say that’s not the same.
“We are not gay and it would be hypocritical to pretend that we are. That is what we would be doing by entering into a civil partnership.”
In January it was reported that a 16-year-old was to become the UK’s youngest sex-change patient.
Bradley Cooper is expected to have the sex change operation within the next 12 months.
In an interview with a national newspaper Bradley said: “People might think I’m too young to make such a huge decision but I know my own mind and this is what I want.”
However, critics of sex change operations say that gender dysphoria is a psychiatric problem, not a physical one, and radical physical surgery does more harm than good.
In 2002 doctors from the NHS Portman Clinic – an internationally acclaimed centre – stated, “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”.