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Lithuania Foots Bill for Sex Change

DW staff (dc)July 3, 2008

Lithuania has paid 40,000 euros ($63,000) for a citizen to undergo a full sex change operation because the government missed a July 1 deadline to adopt a domestic gender reassignment law.

Gay rights demonstrators carry the rainbow flag
Lithuania has been criticized for not respecting the rights of sexual minoritiesImage: AP

The transsexual, born female in 1978, won a case last year against Lithuania in the European Court of Human Rights. The court ruled that the country had to enact a gender reassignment law, or pay 40,000 euros for the surgery to take place abroad.

A spokesperson from the country's justice ministry said that the whole sum had transferred, as no law was adopted.

Lithuania's government drafted a law to allow gender reassignment surgery and presented it to parliament in 2003, but the bill has not been passed.

Lack of political will

"There is a lack of political will to take action on the issue, and I do not know when there will be some," Elvyra Baltutyte, Lithuania's representative at the European Human Rights Court told Reuters news agency.

International human rights organizations have criticized Lithuania in the past for not respecting the rights of sexual minorities.