Romanian Trans Woman Denied Surgery in Lithuania

Jessica Rotariu chose to do her breast augmentation surgery in Lithuania, as the qualification of the surgeons and the price of the procedures pleased her. After a mammography was handed to the doctor during the second meeting, the surgeon Martynas Norkus found out that Jessica is transgender woman and refused to perform the booked surgery. The surgery should have been held on May 27th, 2015. The official position was that the patient did not inform the clinic about her transsexuality. The surgeon said that they were unable to perform the surgery, because Jessica’s passport says she is male and there are no laws in Lithuania that regulate transgender related treatment or breast augmentation for biological men. Jessica notes that she felt discriminated and shocked, her rights were violated.

The person in question currently lives as a happy single woman and feels respected in her workplace in England. Jessica was born in Romania, Arad city, in 1963 and tried to live as a man, had a traditional family, but felt that she is pushing a big part of herself away. Jessica’s decision to change her gender was taken before the federal court of Germany, on this personal journey she has lost her friends, family and her job. She states that she started everything anew and does not regret it, only her parents still support her. In 2006 Jessica started hormone therapy and in 2011 the name in her passport was changed, but the gender graph remained the same. Jessica’s first breast augmentation surgery was held in Prague. According to Jessica, “[s]ex reassignment surgery would be the last step, but the costs are very high”. “I have a full-time job in health service in England, but I cannot afford all the desired surgeries,” says Jessica.

Martynas Norkus, the doctor who should have performed Jessica’s surgery, states that this misunderstanding occurred because the patient did not provide enough information about herself. “The clinic does not have enough expertise to perform these surgeries,” he says and adds that they should undergo additional medical training in order to provide safety and quality of such procedure. The spokesman denies that he has negative attitude towards transgender people and says that the staff members and himself were attentive and sincere with the patient. He states that there were no conflict situation and understands Jessica’s disappointment. According to him, there is a big difference between carrying a breast augmentation surgery on a person who was born female and on a transgender person.

When the senior advisor of the Office of Equal Opportunities in Lithuania Laima Vengalė–Dits was asked about the situation, she noted that Lithuania is still one of the countries in the Europe Union that do not have any legislation on gender reassignment related surgeries, even though the European Court of Human Rights concluded the situation should have been changed. The Ministry of Health wrote that in this case breast augmentation surgery should be considered as part of gender reassignment treatment and in Lithuania it is not possible to undergo these procedures because of the legislative. The OEO senior advisor inquired with the Ministry of Health, whether a person of any gender should be able to undergo breast augmentation surgery if they wished so, but was not provided with an answer.