Trans inmate unlikely to get gender reassignment after parole granted

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A transgender inmate who had previously been granted gender reassignment surgery, is now unlikely to receive it as she has been granted parole.

Michelle-Lael Norsworthy was granted parole, as California Governor Jerry Brown took no action on a parole board’s recommendation to release her.

In April, a federal judge ruled that Norsworthy should be granted gender reassignment surgery whilst still incarcerated.

However, as prisoners are usually released around a week after parole is granted, she is unlikely now to receive the surgery.

Despite being scheduled for July, the surgery was delayed after the state appealed against the court ruling, after the parole board made its recommendation.

The Governor’s decision reflects that Norsworthy is no longer dangerous.

The 51-year-old three decades ago, shot 26-year-old Franklin Gordon Liefer Jr, after they had an argument in a bar.

Then 21, Norswrothy was convicted of second-degree murder, after the victim died six weeks after being shot three times.

Despite having lived as female since the 1990s, Northworthy’s prison records still refer to her by her birth name, and she is incarcerated at the Mule Creek State Prison, a men’s prison.

Northworthy originally requested the surgery in 2012, after being diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 1999.

The state had argued that it has treated her gender dysphoria with counselling and hormone therapy.

At her parole hearing, Norsworthy said she accepted full responsibility for the crime, and that at the time she was “pretty much drinking all day every day”, but that she now attends alcoholics anonymous meetings in prison.