A California panel has recommended parole for a transgender California inmate, a decision that ironically could keep her from receiving prison-funded sex reassignment surgery.

A pair of parole commissioners decided Thursday that 51-year-old Michelle-Lael Norsworthy is no longer dangerous and should be freed. She has served 28 years in prison for a second-degree murder conviction from Orange County.

The state parole board now has 120 days to review the commissioners' recommendation.

Meanwhile, corrections officials are asking an appeals court to delay a federal judge's order that Norsworthy be provided with the surgery as soon as possible.

The decision sets up a race to see if Norsworthy, who has lived as a woman since the 1990s, gets the surgery before she is paroled.