Gender reassignment in prison, approved!

28 year-old Y.A., a convict in Maltepe prison was granted the right to change gender following the issue of a doctor’s report stating the inmate had gender dysphoria

Source: Radikal, “Cezaevinde cinsiyet değişimine onay!” (“Gender reassignment in prison, approved!”), Radikal, 20 January 2015,

Y.A., a 28 year-old convict having issues with their sexual identity, applied to the court while in Maltepe prison to change their name and gender. Last year in January, following the issue of a doctor’s report stating that they had gender dysphoria, Y.A. legally changed her name to Asli A. at the 6th Anatolia Civil Court. Within a month of the name change, Asli A.’s request to change their gender was approved.


Reaching a verdict on Asli A.’s request, in which she stated she is transsexual and deeming gender reassignment as vital to her mental well-being, the 22nd Anatolia Civil Court instructed a report be issued by Marmara University Pendik Learning and Research Hospital. Diagnosing Asli A. as suffering from gender dysphoria, the report concluded it was crucial that her biological identity match her female psycho-sexual identity to safeguard her mental well-being. The report added, “It is important and essential for the person’s mental well-being that the prison conditions are adapted to correspond to her sexual identity and the necessary supplies are provided for her personal care. No objections on the basis of mental health were found against the surgery to reassign the person’s gender as female.”


One year on from the court’s decision, the execution of Asli A.’s gender reassignment surgery was still pending when she wrote a letter to Servet Kartal, Anatolia’s 1st Prosecuting Judge. Noting that Kartal had previously approved a similar request from inmate Deniz C. and had directed the Penal Prosecution Office to do what was necessary, Asli A. demanded that the same decision be made for her case, expressing that her surgery was being obstructed by the Penal Prosecution Office.


Anatolia 1st Prosecuting Judge Servet Kartal stated that the inmate’s transsexuality meant her gender needed to be immediately reassigned as female and failing to do so would otherwise lead to mental health problems as outlined in the hospital report. In his two-page verdict Kartal wrote, “The execution of this procedure should be imminent taking into account the deep sadness and shame people feel when have issues with their physical appearance, and the irreparable negative consequences this may have on the inmate’s mental health. This is of the same significance as having physical health issues, and therefore the execution of the procedure should be imminent, as prolonging the inmate’s wait for surgery constitutes a risk on the inmate’s life due to the threat of a mental breakdown.

Noting that the inmate, having been diagnosed with “gender dysphoria”, was being kept in prison conditions against her will, the verdict stated, “In order to uphold the right of the inmate to live according to his will, noting that gender reassignment is legally allowed to take place during imprisonment, providing the cost of the surgery is borne by the inmate and the necessary security measures are taken, it was decided that this letter be written to the Maltepe Penal Prosecution Directorate to notify the Ministry of Justice in order for the inmate to be transferred to a state hospital with the equipment and capacity to perform the surgery.”

The verdict, emphasising the immediacy of the surgery, was sent to the Maltepe Penal Prosecution Directorate.

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