Lithuania: Transsexuals stand for their rights

by the Lithuanian Gay League

A young woman willing to have an operation to change her sex lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights against Lithuania and has been invited to state her demands to the government during an open court hearing in Strasbourg on October 17th. She will also have to substantiate her 1 million litas (290,000 euros) suit against the country. The Strasbourg court received the complaint from the woman, who feels that she should have been the opposite sex, a year ago. In her complaint, the Lithuanian citizen said that she had consulted micro-surgeons over an operation to change her sex on a number of occasions and had often been sent to psychiatrists. Vilnius Psychiatric Hospital doctors have said that she is a transsexual and should undergo such an operation. This is just the second case in Lithuania's practice when the Justice Ministry, which represents the government at the European Court of Human Rights, will have to express its position orally.

Currently in Lithuania it is not possible for transsexual people to change gender related records. The ability to change name is very limited. It is possible to change a person's name from gender related to neutral, but only for unmarried people. Although the basic right to change sex is described in Lithuanian civil code article 2.27, this article is not considered in force because no law governing sex change exists.

Recently leading national daily newspaper "Lietuvos rytas" published a first page story about 46 years old transsexual woman Medea who is struggling to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and change her biological sex. With assistance of Lithuanian gay league an official letter to the President has been sent. President is requested to exercise his legislative powers and initiate a hearing on sex reassignment law in the Parliament at the autumn session.