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Hearing Set for Va. Inmate Seeking Sex Change

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ROANOKE, Va. — A federal judge is hearing the case of a Virginia inmate seeking a state-paid sex-change operation.

U.S. District Court Judge James C. Turk in Roanoke is scheduled to hear the case of Ophelia De’Lonta on Monday.

Turk had previously dismissed De’Lonta’s self-filed lawsuit in 2011 after he concluded the Virginia Department of Corrections was adequately treating De’Lonta’s gender identity disorder, a mental diagnosis in which people believe they were born the wrong sex.

But a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January sent her case back to the lower court. They said De’Lonta is entitled to a hearing on her claim that denying her sex-assignment surgery is a violation of her Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.

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