LOS ANGELES – A transgender California inmate has lost a legal bid for a sex-change operation at taxpayer expense.

Lyralisa Stevens, who was born male but lives as a female, is serving 50 years to life for killing a San Bernardino County woman with a shotgun in a dispute over clothes. On Wednesday, the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco denied the 42-year-old prisoner’s surgery request, ending – at least for now – her two-year legal battle to force the state to pay for removal of her male genitalia.

Her attorney is considering whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Had Stevens prevailed, California would have been the first state in the U.S. required to provide sexual reassignment surgery for an inmate diagnosed with gender identity disorder. The operation typically costs $15,000 to $50,000.

Like many other states, California provides hormones to transgender inmates who were receiving such therapy before their incarceration. Stevens had argued that hormone therapy is no longer adequate to combat the emotional distress caused by her disorder.