VA Doc Recommends State Pay For Inmate’s Gender-Reassignment Surgery

If an endocrinologist’s recommendation is followed, the state of Virginia will start paying for prison inmates’ gender-reassignment surgeries.

Dr. Christina Gherghe was hired by the Department of Corrections to give an opinion in the case of Ophelia De’Lonta, a 51-year-old trans woman currently serving a 70-year-sentence at Buckingham Correctional Facility for robbery, weapons and drug offenses. De’Lonta, who’s already been incarcerated for 33 years, was denied surgery and subsequently tried to castrate herself.

In 2004, she won the right to hormone treatments and to have prison officials address her as a woman, among other necessities. But she says going without the $20,000 surgery is tantamount to torture.  “I’m being tortured because I can’t receive the treatment I’m suppose to have. So, you just let me suffer,” she told NBC12 News. “The only way that’s going to change if my medical situation changes. If that doesn’t change, it’s like being choked to death and [I] can’t breathe.”

Reviewing De’Lonte’s case, Gherghe recommended a orchiectomy, or testicle removal. But, as Gherghe wrote to De’Lonte, “I can not write this as an order. I can only suggest it to your doctors.” De’Lonta hopes Gherghe’s letter will help in her appeal.

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  • Analog


  • w.e.

    We’re constantly being told that biology and the physical body do not matter. Let her just call herself a she and be done with it. Do not ask the tax payers to pay for unncessary surgery, especially for a criminal.

  • Red Meat

    He just wants a vagina to store drugs in.

  • Dave

    Oh great. Now all the trans people will go to Virginia and commit crimes just so they can get free sur…

    …nah, I can’t manage to keep a straight face.

    Sadly, I’m sure lots of others will say exactly that, and actually mean it.

  • sweetbrandigirl2004

    We’ll to begin with I think you should do more research before you report something as a orchiectomy is NOT a sex change its medical castration. A sex change or GRS as its more commonly called is a very in-depth procedure that a requires the creation of a Vaginia by inverting the **** to creating a vaginal cavity. I don’t see a problem with the state paying for it since medical care is something the State assumes responsibility for when incarcerating someone, I do however feel that if this person was truly born in the wrong body then they should want to have a FULL Sex change if not then I highly doubt their claim of being GID ( gender Identity Dysphoric )

  • Max

    Hmm. I am not happy that the taxpayer dollars will go to a criminal gender reassignment surgery but I can’t argue that such a surgery is unnecessary. She deserves a right to live in the body she needs and to deny her that would be like slapping another prison sentence on the prison sentence. Still trans* individuals who don’t commit crimes don’t get handouts so the why the hell should she?

  • Jay

    Why do ALL trans people want to be victims and claim that they need surgery, want the government and everyone else to pay for it, and use the “But I’ll kill myself if I don’t get it!” mantra?

    Actually Max yes a lot of Trans people who aren’t criminals DO get handouts and free hormones/surgery that are paid by everyone else.

  • Drew

    No this criminal should not get free surgery or a sex change operation.

  • Matt

    If he/she wants to cut off his/her dick and balls that’s his/her choice.

    No the state should not pay for the sex change operation.

  • Chuck

    So many things wrong with this.

  • Geri

    Giving her the surgery she wants and then sending her to a women’s prison could work out being a lot cheaper in long run than the cost of other medical treatment if she continues trying self castration while being held in solitary confinement in a men’s prison.

    70 years sounds like a heck of a sentence for someone who hasn’t committed murder.

  • ItoJane

    I am very glad that the state is thinking of paying for her surgery. I think that sex change operations should be covered by health care worldwide.

  • Sohobod

    As a Brit, rather that anything to do with the gender issues, I am amazed that someone can be sentenced to 70 years for the crimes she committed. When I started reading, I assumed that she was in prison for murder. But no. And she’s been in prison for 33 years already!!!
    I’m not soft on criminals, but 33 years already!!! At the very least – how much must a life in prison cost the tax payer???!!!

  • Triple S

    @Sohobod: Well, it’s a sure fire way to stop them from ever committing a crime, and it would certainly discourage them from doing it again! They are the ones at fault. Crime is unacceptable. The strong punishments are helpful in removing the root of the problem quickest.

  • Lucas

    He/She probably did armed robbery, and if they had illegal drugs and illegal weapons that’s why the extra time was added on.

  • Geri

    @Lucas: Armed robbery and drugs sounds like enough to get her 35 years tops in the States. I guess the extra 35 years was for being black and queer/trans.

  • Sohobod


    Thanks for the link. Scary.

    @Triple S

    Because you live in America (I presume), I don’t think you realise just how strange a 70 year sentence sounds. Sure, people have to be punished for crime. But there is proportianate punishment. I don’t know the circumstances of the case, but on the face of it, no one was hurt. There has to be a the chance of rehabilitation for prisoners.
    America has 5% of the world’s population, but has 25% of the world’s prisoners. Something is not right here.

  • Marie

    Geri-That’s bullshit they can’t make you go to prison or give you more time if you are black and Trans.

    BTW I’m a black TG woman.

    This woman has robbed banks, and having drugs and guns would make someone stay in prison for awhile.

  • Kayden

    Are people really calling her a HE/SHE?!?!?

    WTF is wrong with you people? you all cry, march, beg for equality yet use derogatory terms to refer to a Transgender woman. HYPOCRITES.

    Regardless of your lack of education on this matter, SHE is a fellow member of the LGBT community. SHE deserves your respect. None of us here know her story beyond a few paragraphs we read from a blog. Let’s at least use the proper pronouns when referring to her.


  • Aquarelle

    Ugh, tra/nnies are the worst. Now they actually expect me to pay for their dick-chopping surgery with *my* tax dollars? Just tuck that thing like any other drag queen.

  • Geri

    @Marie: Don’t be so naive. You only have to look at the statistics to see that significantly high and disproportionate numbers of black, non-white and trans people are imprisoned in the USA, and that they tend to be given the harshest sentences the law will allow.

  • Marie

    Way to be a professional victim Geri.

    No I’m not being naive. The majority of black people and trans people including black trans people are NOT criminals and we are law abiding citizens.

  • oh well

    Kayden-SHE/he still has a dick and is a man, and is in a MAN’s PRISON.

    Apparently this TS/TG woman was arrested for robbing banks to get a sex change surgery, and she’s/he’s using the whole “I’m Trans, mentally insane, and a professional victim who deserves a free sex change operation that I want everyone else to pay for!”

    The thing is that getting SRS is not going to solve all of his/her problems and it may make things worse.

    I would not be surprised if he/she were to get a sex change and the other inmates there decided to gang fuck him/her to try out that new TS pussy and stretch it out some; but I am sure he/she has taken A LOT of dick up her/his ass and in the mouth too.

    Let’s also keep in mind that most TS/TG people are not criminals and do not want the state or government or everyone else to pay for a sex change operation or gender transition.

    This man/woman is a criminal and a psychopath, someone who wants to use the system as a lot of criminals in prisons do, and that’s why they wound up in prison and it’s where they belong.

  • Kurt

    Geri-Let me guess you’re one of those people who has the mantra of ALL WHITES OFF THE PLANET NOW!!!!! and PEOPLE WHO ARE WHITE ARE ALL RA CI ST!

  • Daez

    @Triple S: Most drugs should be legalized, and giving someone more time in prison for drug crimes than for rape, child molestation and other violent crimes is ridiculous.

    @Marie: They cannot outright do so, no, but they often give better deals and less strict punishments to stright white cisgendered males. Look at the statistics. Also, the judge can consider multiple factors when determining punishments, and off the charts, they often consider the “character” of the defendant.

  • Geri

    @Marie: &

    I’m white, not trans, and not from the USA or living in the USA.

    Ophelia De’Lonta, born Michael Stokes, first tried to castrate herself aged 12. By 17, she was robbing banks with the hopes of getting enough money to have a sex change operation. By 18, she was in prison, sentenced to more than 70 years for robbery, drugs, weapons and other charges. She wasn’t even given hormone treatment for her gender identity disorder until she was 43 years old.

    The right thing to do is release her now and pay for her gender reassignment. I really don’t care how many banks she robbed way-back-when when she was a desperate kid getting no help for her life threatening condition.

  • Stay Faded

    This criminal should NOT be getting a free sex change operation and having the government or everyone else pay for it.

    Being Trans is NOT a life threatening condition. I have met Trans people who do not want any SRS/hormones at all.

  • Geri

    @Stay Faded: Gender Identity Disorder can be a life threatening condition, as evidenced by the very high rates of suicide, suicide attempts and other forms of self harm in transgender people. With her long standing history of attempts at self-castration there must have been a number of occasions when De’Lonta would have bled to death and/or suffered other fatal trauma if she hadn’t have received emergency treatment. Frankly. it’s a miracle really that she’s still alive.

    Anyway, you don’t have to just take my word for it. You do have some Judges in the States who recognize how serious GID can be.


    “On July 27, 2007, Judge Mikel Williams of the Federal District Court for the District of Idaho ruled that, based on extensive expert medical testimony, Spencer is entitled to receive female hormone therapy while her case is being decided. Judge Williams held that “gender identity disorder, left untreated, is a life-threatening mental health condition.” ”

    Next thing is that the cost of the operation she wants is $20,000. It’s costing the US government at least $24,000 a year to keep her in prison (actually it’s probably a lot more than that because she is not an average prisoner). She quite simply should not be in prison anymore. 70 years for what she did is ridiculous. 33 years should be more than enough to satisfy any sane human being that she’s been punished enough for her crimes now. She didn’t kill anyone. RELEASE her already! And give her the medical treatment she should have been given when she was a teenager. That will probably cost the US taxpayer a lot less than keeping her in prison for the rest of her life.

    “With more than 2 million people in prison the United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world, according to the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London.

    The American rate stood at 743 people incarcerated per 100,000 of the population, ahead of both Russia’s rate of 585 and China’s rate of 120. In contrast, the rate in England and Wales was 150, 117 in Canada, 96 in France, and 88 in Germany.

    State spending on prisons shot up to $74 billion in 2007 from $63 billion in 1997, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Local government spending on jails rose to $116 billion from $99 billion during that same time.”


    Do the maths. And learn to have some humanity.

  • dylan terreri, i


    gender is reality. gender is as obvious an identifier as race is – changing one’s gender should be regarded as ludicrous an idea as changing one’s race (though michael jackson seemed to have done both). change your mind before you go to the extreme of changing your gender – it’s nothing but your mind that’s telling you that your body is a mistake. change your mind.

    homosexuality is gender-dysfunction. this should be realized. a national tolerance of gender-dysfunction is telling children that it’s okay to be mediocre. it was the summer of 1991 – hunterdon county, new jersey – i was going to see “terminator 2” with someone named josh lane – we never saw it because i was expressing my awe of his manliness and he was telling me to love myself and not to see him as the best but to become the best. i thought he was being intolerant, so i felt rejected and wanted to go home. i’d always felt mediocre, a small masculine slight, i wanted someone to accept me for it. i don’t know if i’d have gone to a “gay pride” parade if i had the chance, but that’s neither here nor there.

    now, whether her gender-curiosity is of the masculine gender or the feminine, if it’s being embraced by society that chastity bono got a sex change because she always thought that she had the wrong body, aren’t people admitting a gender-identity issue? it is an issue when one doesn’t feel like a female but is undeniably female. don’t people realize that such issues and feelings can only come into being once a person has been around other people long enough to have come to define themselves as a specific gender in relation to the world and genders around them? how do you know you have the wrong body if you haven’t been exposed to anything but your body? how do you know that there are two types of bodies? how do you come out of the womb with any information of the world when you’ve had no information to process while in the womb, as if a fetus is advanced enough to process information.

    i was in high school and josh was the epitome of the word “man”. i arrived at that conclusion through all the years i had lived, all the years i had regarded athletes as “real men,” all the years i felt outcasted from the masculine gender. i had never wanted a sex change, but i sure did not feel like a “real man” and i did not feel comfortable calling myself a man when all these better men were around. i swam with my shirt on, i didn’t feel man enough to take it off. i thought that tank-tops didn’t belong on me because i was skinny and weak. this probably has nothing to do with any self-discontentment i felt, but i was an actor in high school – happy and comfortable to become someone else.

    my lackluster sense of self complemented the lackluster specimen of manhood that i was, but maybe if i’d have gone to a “gay pride” parade then i would have been taught to be proud without having any justifiable reason to be proud of myself. if i learned how to love myself in spite of everything i wanted to change about myself, life would have been much easier and i wouldn’t have had to spend so much time lifting weights and improving myself.

    there is a quote i came up with before 1996, i tested it in 1996 on stevanne lusk who was behind a place called “the center for neuro-rehab” in annapolis. evita was playing at the mall during the time i was in annapolis and i loved musical theatre, in case you have any doubts of my being a legitimate homosexual after writing a letter like this.

    here’s the quote: “if you wanna believe there’s nothing detrimental to a masculine soul about finding security, fulfillment and something excitably taboo in another one, it’s your loss”

    i was humping the mattress yet again this morning – do you know the stuff that is in gay porn? “men” sniffing their own armpits , “men” sniffing others’ armpits, “men” with their faces wedged inside ass-cracks, “men” with their hands up someone’s rear-end – when i see stuff like this i picture all these question marks flying around the heads of the curious little masculine slights that simply know themselves as “gay”.

    “We shoulda known you question your manhood when we saw you jerking it like you just bought it at some curiosity shop,” from my first screenplay, andy’s beach, (c) 1996.

    why don’t boys who were “born straight” come out of mama’s vagina with a hard-on? on second thought, why did they even come out of mama’s vagina – they’re soon going to be trying to re-enter a vagina with either their fingers, tongues or dicks. one would think that being inside of a vagina would be paradise for a boy who was “born straight”. on second thought, maybe newborn boys don’t know anything about the world around them and maybe it’ll take years to gain enough knowledge of the world (and the genders) around them to regard the vagina as special and interesting.

    madonna’s “justify my love” was popular in late 1990, i remember it well – i was a junior in high school. paula abdul’s “opposites attract” was popular in early 1990, i remember it well – i was a sophomore. let me take a line from my aforementioned screenplay: ” i’m saying that opposites attract, be that man/woman, confident man/insecure man, or even half-the-woman/epitome of ‘woman’! ‘opposites’ is what you feel inside about yourself, it’s not strictly male or female on the outside! i’m jealous, therefore i lust! i’m jealous of your body like you’re jealous of saxy’s. i need a man in my life for the same reason you need a woman, i feel left out!”

    i therefore can understand how chastity bono came to the conclusion that she felt like she should be a man. it’s cross-eyed gender-dysfunction. josh told me to change myself so that i’d love myself, he was talking about my becoming the best instead of fawning over supreme masculine images. i guess one could argue that going to a doctor to change one’s gender is the same as going to a gym to change one’s musculature, which brings to mind another line from my screenplay: “It works for you, huh, treating your gender like its presence on your body is some big mistake?”. gender is reality – gender is as obvious as race is – changing one’s gender should be regarded as ludicrous an idea as changing one’s race (though michael jackson seemed to have done both). change your mind before you go to the extreme of changing your gender, it’s nothing but your mind that’s telling you that your body is a mistake.

    gender is self, gender is reality, the way anyone thinks or feels about themselves is arrived at by – let’s just say that i wouldn’t have felt like a masculine slight as a boy if i was not always picked last for teams in gym class. if girls were fawning over me rather than over athletes, i probably would have been a tad more self-confident. if i wasn’t only as strong as a girl, maybe i’d have had some masculine self-worth. maybe masculine self-worth is what josh was trying to give me when he told me to change myself to become the best. maybe masculine self-worth is why i enjoy gawking at images of “men” having sex as i’m humping my mattress, when the reality of having sex with anything but a masculine image keeps me from having sex with men.

    maybe the absence of self-respect and masculine self-worth that i felt as a boy would have done more than bring about a lust for men. maybe it would have led me to believe that i was not supposed to be male, that i was a female trapped in a male’s body. let me conclude by saying that before there is gender-reassignment surgery in anyone’s life, before anyone wants to do away with their gender, there is a certain degree of self-hatred. change your mind.

    dylan terreri, i, LLC

    “When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying something, I say it.” – Madonna

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