An inmate is one step closer getting Virginia to pay for her sex-change operation.
U.S. District Court Judge Judge James C. Turk ruled Wednesday that Ophelia De'Lonta, a 53-year-old, pre-operative transexual, is entitled to get evaluated by a gender identity specialist of her choice.
The evaluation will determine whether the $20,000 sex-change operation is medically necessary for the inmate with a gender-identity disorder and a past history of self-castration attempts.
If the specialist decides that the sex-change operation is medically necessary and the court agrees, it will be funded by the Virginia Department of Corrections.
But De'Lonta will have to pay for the evaluation herself.
Turk told the Roanoke Times that it looks to him that De'Lonta's preferred doctor will become her expert witness for future phases of the case.
De'lonta, who was born as Michael A. Stokes, is serving a 73-year prison sentence for bank robbery.