Monday 07 May 2012
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Male Inmates in Costa Rica Can Wear Women's Clothing

Costa Rica's Sala Constitucional (Constitutional Court) has ruled that prison officials must allow a male inmate to dress in women's clothing.

The ruling followed an appeal by David Avila Ulloa, who changed his name to Sherlyn Tatiana and who has been in prison since March 20111, after prison officials forbade him to dress as a woman.

The man, convicted of drug trafficking, appealed the prohibition to the Constitutional Court which ruled in Avila's favour.

The justices said in their ruling, however, that Avila may dress "as a woman or in the way that he wants, provided that such clothing is not obviously scandalous or such that it affects the order or the security of the penal centre".

The 22-year-old inmate of the La Reforma prison said that he liked to use female clothing, jewellery and makeup even when he was a child. He added that discrimination in the prison is "very strong", with prison staff not viewing him as either man or woman but rather "as an animal".

"They told me that if I wanted to go to the school (where the prisoners study) I had to dress like a man", Avila said.


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