Trans Inmate Ophelia De’lonta Granted Parole
Transgender inmate Ophelia De’lonta had served 34 years of a 73-year prison sentence, but lawyers for the inmate said she should be out by April 1st.
De’lonta had gained notoriety since 1999 when she came out as transgender. She has since been fighting a legal battle for the state to pay for hormone treatments, and most recently, gender reassignment surgery.
In August of last year, De’Lonta successfully fought for the right to receive a screening for Gender Identity Disorder which could have led to a state funded gender reassignment surgery. At the time, De’Lonta’s lawyer Victor Glassenburg told GayRVA about the medical necessity for gender reassignment surgery for someone suffering from GID.
“Think of it like cancer, you can treat it with radiation, you can treat it with chemotherapy, and there comes a point when you treat it with surgery. You have to cut it off,” said Glasberg. “Whatever it is, so as not to endanger the rest of the body.”
De’Lonta had taken to self-mutilation in her jail cell, and the jail allowing her to see a doctor about her GID was a good sign for her future treatment.
Few details have been released, but De’Lonta had a parole hearing, but in an interview with AP, William Muse, Board Chair of the corrections facility De’Lonta was serving in, said he personally delivered the parole letter to the inmate. Muse said the relationship between himself and De’Lonta had been positive for many years and his rare personal letter delivery was ”just because I’ve known her a long time.”
Muse also denied De’Lonta’s release had anything to do with the the inmates pursuit of gender reassignment surgery.
In a phone interview today, Glasberg said De’Lonta was “happy” with the news of her upcoming release. “There’s some bureaucratic stuff Department of Corrections has to attend to, which is typical.” De’Lonta is expected to be released within 45 days.
While Glasberg couldn’t say if De’Lonta’s legal battle had anything to do with her release, he confirmed the DOC no longer had to worry about granting the inmate surgery or setting a precedent with De’Lonta’s request.
“Obviously we’re not involved in the decision-making, but everyone is free to draw their own correct conclusions.”
This is a developing story and GayRVA will provide updates as they become available.
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