September 4, 2013

A Virginia inmate is one step closer to getting sex-reassignment surgery.

53-year-old Ophelia De’Lonta, born Michael Stokes, is currently serving a 73-year prison sentence for bank robbery. She has spent the past 30 years at the Buckingham Correctional Center in Buckingham County, Virginia.

De’Lonta has been fighting for her rights behind bars since 1999, when she first filed a lawsuit petitioning for hormone treatment. That lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge. In 2003, De’Lonta tried again. This time an agreement was reached. State authorities agreed to provide her with hormone treatment and psychological therapy. De’Lonta would also be allowed to dress as a woman in the men’s prison.