With a bill in limbo, court orders Lithuania to pay for gender reassignment.
Note to lawmakers worldwide: If you hem and haw over the legality of sex change surgery, you may end up footing the bill.
Reuters reports that Lithuania has paid $63,140 (40,000 euros) for a partially transgendered man to have complete gender reassignment surgery abroad, per a court order. The man, born a woman in 1978, won a case against his home state in the European Court of Human Rights, for sitting on a bill to allow reassignment surgery that was presented in 2003. The court ordered the Lithuanian parliament to pay for the woman to have the procedure if it still had not voted on the bill by July 1, a deadline the Eastern European nation clearly missed.
The man, referred to in the media as "Mr. L," had already undergone hormone therapy and breast removal when his doctors refused to perform further surgery on him until the parliament made a decision. The BBC reported in 2006 that the man suffers daily embarrassment due to the fact that his ID still reflects his status as a female, as official gender change on documentation is illegal in Lithuania.
Here's what a Lituanian representative to the human rights court had to say about the issue: "There is a lack of political will to take an action on the issue, and I do not know when there will be some." Makes you wonder how many more tax dollars will fund more elective surgery before the Parliament decides to dust off and reexamine this now-costly bill.