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Austrian Court: Prisoners have Right to Sex Change Treatment

23 May 2016

GefängniszellePfeil G4Human rights do not end on prison walls

Transsexuals have a right to sex change treatment also in jail, an Austrian court has ruled in a groundbreaking judgment, and ordered the penitantiary to initiate the treatment.  

The transsexual inmate, wo legally still is male, has been identifying as a female for years. He feels being a female being born in a wrong, male body. He is longing to living as a woman and being accepted as a woman and to undergo hormonal treatment and sex change surgery. 

WHO treats transsexualism as an illness (ICD 10 F64.0; DSM V: Gender Dysphoria), which necessitates hormonal treatment and sex change surgery if so wished by the person concerned. Denial of  treatment may cause severe and lasting damage and violates fundamental human rights (European Court of Human Rights: L. v Lithuania 2007).

The prison director nevertheless had ignored the inmate´s application. The inmate turned to the court. And the Regional Criminal Court of Vienna ordered the penitentiary to initiate the treatment (dec. 29 April 2016, 190 Bl 11/16x).   

Austria has been finding itself among the leading countries worldwide on trans rights since Rechtskomitee LAMBDA (RKL) successfully had fought the divorce requirement (2006) and the surgery requirement (2009) in the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Administrative Court.  

"The decision is groundbreaking", says Dr. Helmut Graupner, counsel of the inmate and president of Rechtskomitee LAMBDA (RKL), Austria´s LGBTI-rights-organisation, "Human rights do not end on prison walls, neither for trans inmates, who often face an especially hard time in jail". 

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