LAHORE: Dismissing a mother’s petition seeking legal directions for her daughter’s sex-change surgery, the Lahore High Court on Wednesday observed that the daughter was old enough to approach the court herself and advised her to do so.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah dismissed the petition on technical grounds after observing that the mother did not have locus standi in the matter since her daughter was sui-juris (legally independent).

Petitioner Shama Begum of Kasur had contended that her daughter Ayesha Shafiq, 24, was advised by doctors to undergo sex-change surgery as she had experienced certain physical changes in her body since the age of 14.

She said she had consulted several gynaecologists but Ayesha had found the constant pain and feeling of ‘gender disorder’ unbearable.

She said a doctor at Fatima Memorial Hospital had advised her daughter to undergo an ultrasound scan after which Ayesha was told to visit a surgeon for a sex-change operation.

Shama Begum told the court that she had visited several surgeons in this regard but they had refused to carry out the surgery citing possible legal implications. The doctors had advised her to obtain permission for the surgery from a court, she added.

She said that Ayesha had the fundamental right to undergo the surgery as it had been advised in the light of an ultrasound scan.

The court has previously granted permission for such surgeries in the past.

In 2008, the court allowed Naureen Aslam of Faisalabad, a graduate, to undergo sex change after doctors had advised gender reassignment through surgery. The surgeons had refused to conduct the operation unless she produced a court order.

In 2010, another individual from Rawalpindi, who was born a male, had approached the court stating that he suffered from gender identity disorder and wanted to change his sex. The name has been withheld for privacy reasons.

He told the court that while he had male genitalia, he felt and thought like a female. He got the court’s nod to undergo the surgery.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2017

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