Transsexual Inmate Gains Professional Support For Sex-Change Operation
Read More: Ophelia De'lonta
A Virginian inmate, Ophelia De’Lonta, with the recent support of a University of Virginia (UVA) doctor, requests the state of Virginia to fund her sexual reassignment operation.
An endocrinologist hired by the state recommends that prison doctors move forward with the orchiectomy operation, removal of the testicales, in order to finalize treatment for De’Lonta’s Gender Identification Disorder. As of now De’Lonta has taken self-castration into her own hands, in attempt to control her disorder and sexual urges.
Many individuals enact self-surgery in attempt to avoid embarrassment, legal action, or in a case like De’Lonta’s, take action in extreme circumstances out of necessity. De’Lonta has already cut out one testicale herself, and if her medical situation doesn’t change, self-mutilation will continue, she said. “its like being choked to death and can’t breathe,” said De’Lonta.
“Refusing to provide effective treatment for a serious medical condition serves no penological purpose,” said De’Lonta. “It amounts to torture. I’m being tortured because I can’t receive the treatment I’m supposed to have. So, you just let me suffer.”
Dr. Christina Gherghe sent a physician’s letter to the court highlighting that orchiectomy is De’Lonta’s final treatment for G.I.D. De’Lonta’s lawayer filed a motion requesting the letter to be included in the appeals court record. Dr.Gherghe notes in the letter that it is up to the prison doctors to pursue what she suggested.
It is expected that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will oppose it, for the state has already said sex change surgery is not the only treatment method for G.I.D.
“They ‘re wanting taxpayers to see this as cosmetic. That this is ‘something she wants.’ I respect and admire their intelligence but this is a serious medical situation. Now that I have that from your specialist, somebody that you hired. If you don’t follow it then, you’re in violation,” said De’Lonta told NBC12.
Contrary to many people’s beliefs, this operation is not voluntary for most transsexual individuals who battle G.I.D. Persons with this disorder show substantial evidence of reoccurring discomfort surrounding one’s assigned sex, or an overwhelming sense of inappropriateness in regards to their gender role.
An individual diagnosed with G.I.D. shows evidence of clinically significant distress, and impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. These symptoms seen in transsexual individuals are prevalent since childhood.
Once an individual is incarcerated, the state becomes financially responsible for that person’s medical necessities.
Rachel Williams is a rising senior at Virginia Commonwealth University with a calling to be a voice to the voiceless; and passion is to bring gender equality and ethnic justice to the forefront of RVA.
Update 8/29: Ophelia De’Lonta, a transgender inmate being held in a Virginia Federal Prison, won the right to visit a doctor of her choosing to find out if the gender reassignment surgery she seeks is medically necessary. The prisons medical staff had determined it unnecessary, and De’Lonta had filed a suit under the 8th amendment [...]August 29, 2013
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