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04 January 2014

L. v. Lithuania, 2006

After being evaluated at the Vilnius Psychiatric Hospital and the Vilnius University Santariškės Hospital in 1997, L. (1978 – ), who lives in Klaipėda, took testosterone, had his breasts removed and has been in a stable relationship with a woman. He also adopted a Slavic name to avoid the gender-specificity of Lithuanian names. However he was constantly being embarrassed in that the prefix on his official documents identified him as a woman. Furthermore, his doctors refused him more operations until he is legally a man.

In 2003 the new Lithuanian Civil Code came into effect of which Article 2.27 § 1 provides that “an unmarried adult has the right to gender reassignment in a medical way, if that is medically possible”. The paragraph of the provision said: “the conditions and procedure for gender reassignment shall be established by law”. However the said conditions and procedures never came to pass.

In 2006 L was able to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights, where it was ruled in 2007 that Lithuania must adopt the subsidiary legislation to its Civil Code on gender-reassignment of transsexuals, within three months of the present judgement becoming final, or L would be awarded €40,000. He was also awarded €5,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

Lithuania did not adopt any relevant subsidiary legislation, and in July 2008 paid the €40,000.

Subsequently, in 2009 and 2013, parliamentarians have proposed to eliminate Article 2.27 § 1 from the civil code, in effect banning all gender changes.

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