Governor Allows Parole for Transgender California Inmate

Gov. Jerry Brown is allowing parole for a transgender inmate who is trying to force California to become the first state to pay for sex reassignment surgery.

A federal judge in April ordered the state to provide the surgery, which had been scheduled for July. It was delayed after the state appealed.

The governor’s office said Friday that Brown was taking no action on the Board of Parole Hearings’ recommendation to release Michelle-Lael Norsworthy, which means her parole will proceed.

The decision makes it less likely that the 51-year-old will be able to have surgery funded by the prison before she is released. Parole board spokesman Luis Patino said it usually takes about a week for an inmate to be released after the governor allows a parole to proceed.

Brown decided Norsworthy is no longer dangerous, 30 years after she fatally shot Franklin Gordon Liefer Jr., 26, following an argument in a Fullerton bar in November 1985.