German insurer must pay for transgender beard removal | News | DW | 28.01.2019
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German insurer must pay for transgender beard removal

A transgender woman has won a court victory in Germany after demanding treatment by a beautician. The woman's afternoon beard growth was causing her psychological distress.

A German court ruled on Monday that a public health insurance company must pay for transsexual customers to have their beard hair removed, even if it is done by a beautician.

The case related to a woman from Hanover who was born a man in 1972 and who had been certified transsexual by a doctor in 2015. The court found heavy beard growth had caused the plaintiff difficulties in coping. Her beard growth required her to shave again each afternoon and then apply camouflaging make-up.

Hair removal treatment from a dermatologist had given the patient skin inflammation, the court found, but similar treatment from a trained cosmetician did not cause any skin reaction. The woman's health insurance company refused to pay for the treatment unless it was performed by a doctor.

Read more: Transgender troops — how open is Germany's army?

The court ruled that this treatment, although not performed by a doctor, should still be covered by health insurance given the side effects of the dermatologist treatment.

The verdict followed an earlier ruling by the Federal Administrative Court that health insurance companies must pay for treatment that helps reduce psychological suffering for transsexual people during their transition and allow them to achieve the appearance of their target gender.

The treatment in question involves inserting a tiny needle into hair follicles and pulsing electricity through it, permanently destroying the hair-growth cells. The technique requires a skilled operator, and even then can take years of treatment sessions to fully remove male facial hair.

Read more: Germany's Federal Court of Justice declares transgender woman legal father of child

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