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Court: Turkey wrong to refuse transsexual’s gender reassignment surgery wish

Judges say Turkey’s refusal to allow a transsexual to have access to gender reassignment surgery breached human rights law.

In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Y. Y. v. Turkey (application no. 14793/08) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned the refusal by the Turkish authorities to grant authorisation for gender reassignment surgery on the grounds that the person requesting it, a transsexual, was not permanently unable to procreate.

The court reiterated that the possibility for transsexuals to have full enjoyment of the right to personal development and physical and moral integrity could not be regarded as a controversial question.

It considered that, even supposing that the denial of the applicant’s initial request for access to such surgery had been based on a relevant ground, it was not based on a sufficient ground.

The resulting interference with the applicant’s right to respect for his private life could not be considered “necessary” in a democratic society.

In denying the applicant, for many years, the possibility of undergoing such an operation, the state had breached the applicant’s right to respect for his private life.

Article 41 (just satisfaction)

The court held that Turkey was to pay the applicant 7,500 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage.


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