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Judge allows Va. inmate who wants sex change to see doctor of her choosing

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:20:58 AM EST   Updated On: Aug 26 2013 08:00:00 AM EDT
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — -

UPDATE: A judge will allow the Virginia inmate who wants a sex-change operation to see a doctor of her choosing in her case against the prison system.

Ophelia De'Lonta was born a man and has gender identity disorder. She gets some treatment in prison where she's serving decades for robbery, but has tried to castrate herself and desires surgery.

This week she was in Federal court in Roanoke arguing she has a right to see a specialist in gender identity disorder, a kind of doctor she hasn't seen in years.

Wednesday a judge ordered she can visit her own doctor who will report back to the court within two months.

Click here to see the court order document. Click here to see the full court opinion document.


A federal judge is hearing the case of a Virginia inmate seeking a state-paid sex-change operation.

U.S. District Court Judge James C. Turk in Roanoke is scheduled to hear the case of Ophelia De'Lonta on Monday.

Turk had previously dismissed De'Lonta's self-filed lawsuit in 2011 after he concluded the Virginia Department of Corrections was adequately treating De'Lonta's gender identity disorder, a mental diagnosis in which people believe they were born the wrong sex.

But a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January sent her case back to the lower court. They said De'Lonta is entitled to a hearing on her claim that denying her sex-assignment surgery is a violation of her Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.