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A transsexual yesterday won the right to bring a High Court challenge to the Ministry of Defence's policy of excluding people who have undergone sex change surgery from the services.

M, a 26-year-old former RAF technician, joined the service as a male but was diagnosed nine months later as a transsexual with "gender disorder identity." She rejected the option of declaring herself a transvestite, which would have allowed her to continue her career, and was downgraded and eventually dismissed.

Mr Justice Buxton was told there was a significant difference between M's case and that involving gay service personnel who failed to overturn the ban on homosexuals. She had been directly discriminated against on the basis of sex, contrary to the European equal treatment directive.