German court rules cross-dressing prisoners okay

BERLIN Wed Mar 2, 2011 12:46pm EST

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Jailed transgender men and women in Germany will be able to wear whichever clothes they want after a court on Tuesday ruled that personal rights superseded security concerns when it comes to clothes.

An incarcerated transgender man first brought the suit to court because a state prison would not let him wear women's clothing as he had done before entering prison.

The prison said the ban was due to "security concerns" because the prisoner choice of clothes might make him a target for attacks.

But Germany's individual rights and anti-discrimination laws protect a prisoner's right to choose his or her clothing, the court said, and trump hypothetical security concerns.

Unlike many other countries, prisoners in Germany do not wear uniforms.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, editing by Paul Casciato)