Virginia: Doctor Recommends State Pay for Inmates Gender Reassignment Surgery

BY Charles Hicks

July 05 2012 6:25 PM ET

 Ophelia De'Lonta

An endocrinologist has recommended full gender reassignment surgery for a Virginia inmate seeking a state-funded transition from male to female.

Christina Gherghe, MD, of the University of Virginia suggested this week that prison doctors perform a orchiectomy — the surgical removal of the testicles — for Ophelia De'Lonta. Gherghe was hired by the state to provide a recommendation in De'Lonta's case.

De'Lonta, who has served 33 years of a 70-year sentence for robbery, drugs and weapons charges, filed a lawsuit against the state in 2011 for failing to treat her gender identity disorder. De'Lonta has already attempted self-castration, and required 21 stitches following her attempt. The 51-year-old has not ruled out another self-castration attempt if the state rules against state-funded gender-reassignment surgery.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is expected to oppose Gherghe's analysis, according to NBC12 News, since the state has said gender-reassignment surgery is not the only treatment method for gender identity disorder.

If the Virginia department of corrections rules in De'Lonta's favor, it will be the first time the state of Viringia has funded a sex-change operation.

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