Appeals court rules state of Virginia violated transgender inmate’s rights
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Monday ruled in favor of a transgender inmate, saying the state of Virginia violated her constitutional rights by not evaluating her for gender reassignment surgery. The ruling allows Ophelia De’lonta, who reportedly suffers from Gender Identity Disorder (GID), to move her case forward in a lower court. De’lonta filed suit against the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) in 2011, alleging that the department’s refusal to consider sex reassignment surgery violated her Eighth Amendment rights. The district court dismissed her case, holding that because VDOC was already providing some treatment for GID, it did not have to evaluate her for sex reassignment surgery. Under a previous settlement agreement, the VDOC had been providing De’lonta with hormone treatment, therapy, and the opportunity to present as a woman to a degree consistent with prison security.