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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 18:38 GMT 19:38 UK
Transsexual 'discriminated against'
Joanne Wingate
Joanne Wingate is claiming sexual discrimination
A transsexual Army officer's treatment by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) showed a "lack of concern for equal opportunities", an employment tribunal has heard.

Joanne Wingate who had surgery to become a woman in 1998, had her promotion prospects "adversely affected" when she declared she was a transsexual, the hearing was told.

But the MoD's spokesman told the Bristol tribunal Miss Wingate "had nothing to complain about" as the Army adopted a "mature, sensitive and constructive approach" to her.

Miss Wingate, a 42-year-old former Warrant Officer, from Somerset, claims the MoD sexually discriminated against her because of her transsexuality.

Representing Miss Wingate, Rajeev Thacker, said in his final submission he acknowledged the MoD were feeling their way in a novel situation, but they had dealt with it incorrectly.

Medical treatment

"If they got it wrong then they are liable, it's as simple as that," he said.

"The respondent cannot escape the law by saying 'we did our best'."

During the nine-day hearing, the tribunal panel heard there was an effort to discharge Miss Wingate and that she was refused access to appropriate medical treatment.

On Thursday, Mr Thacker said: "The employment tribunal is invited to conclude that (the MoD) did not have a serious commitment to dealing with discrimination, which undoubtedly exists in the Army."

Miss Wingate, who joined the Army's Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1981, had said she told the Army she was "gender dysphoric" in 1997.

She left the Army in 2003. The hearing continues.


SEE ALSO:
Sex change officer 'supported'
18 Sep 03  |  Somerset
Sex-change officer was 'mocked'
17 Sep 03  |  Somerset


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