Transgender woman dies after silicone injections

BY admin

July 13 2005 12:00 AM ET

A 45-year-old
transgender woman who received illegal silicone injections
at a party in a private home in San Diego has died after
nearly a month on life support, the county medical
examiner said on Monday. Patricio Gonzalez, who police
said received silicone injections to her hips,
buttocks, cheeks, and lips, died on Sunday. Gonzalez and at
least nine other people were injected at a so-called
pumping party on June 19, police said.

"Pumping
parties," where people seeking a more feminine
appearance have silicone injected into their bodies, have
been on the upswing in the past few years, experts
say. The silicone used at the parties is often
industrial-grade material, like floor sealant.

The Food and Drug
Administration banned direct injections of silicone in
1992, and the substance has been known to migrate within the
body and cause chronic, degenerative illnesses.

Gonzalez and
another transgender woman received more silicone than the
other party guests and suffered immediate respiratory
problems, prompting the Los Angeles-area woman who was
administering the silicone to flee, police said.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for Sammia
"Angelica" Gonzalez, 39, who was injecting the party guests
with silicone and is believed to have fled to Mexico.

The second
transgender woman, 30, was also comatose after the party.
There was no update on her condition from police on Monday.

Deaths stemming
from "pumping parties" are on the rise, with at least
five fatalities reported in Florida, Texas, and Georgia
since 2003. The illegal silicone injections are in
demand because it remains cheaper and easier than
plastic surgery, said Walter Bockting, the coordinator of
transgender health services at the University of Minnesota's
Program in Human Sexuality. Transgender women
often have humiliating experiences with traditional
surgery clinics, and surgeons often require a
psychological exam before they will consider treatment, he
said.

"The greatest
danger is that people don't know what they're
getting," Bockting said. "People are very vulnerable because
of the self-esteem issues they suffer from, and they
are willing to risk long-term disaster to feel
better."

A.J. Davis,
public policy director for the San Diego Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, Transgender Community Center, said the center does
everything it can to discourage silicone injections.
"We talk to people about the dangers, and we provide
lots of information for nonsurgical alternatives," she
said. (Reuters)

Tags: Health

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