Trans Woman Convicted of Murder For Silicone Injections

By Mitch Kellaway

Originally published on Advocate.com September 04 2014 5:43 PM ET

Tracey Lynn Garner, a transgender resident of Jackson, Miss., was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for the "depraved heart" murder of another woman, reports Time.

Garner, 54, administered an unlicensed silicone injection that killed 37-year-old Karima Gordon, of Atlanta. Garner was also convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Gordon died in 2012, eight days after seeking the illicit means to enhance her buttocks, reports the Associated Press.

The victim was allegedly referred to Garner by adult entertainer Natasha "Pebbelz Da Model" Stewart, who was convicted of manslaughter in February and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Garner still faces similar charges for the 2010 death of Selma, Ala., resident Marilyn Hale, according to the AP. The trial date for that case has yet to be announced.

Botched results from unlicensed silicone injections have been on the upswing in recent years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Unlike Garner's case, deaths are often are related to "pumping parties," group gatherings in private homes where the attendees are injected with silicone that is often industrial-grade material, like floor sealant.

The aim of the procedure is to achieve a more feminine physical appearance. Injections are commonly administered to the hips, buttocks, cheeks, and lips.

Despite their riskiness, illegal silicone injections remain in demand because they are cheaper and simpler than plastic surgery, Dr. Walter Bockting, the then-coordinator of transgender health services at the University of Minnesota's Program in Human Sexuality, told The Advocate in 2005.

Transgender women remain particularly likely to opt for silicone injections because of lower incomes, difficult experiences with traditional surgical clinics, and extra requirements — like a psychological exam — before being considered for gender-affirming surgeries, Bockting explained.

The Food and Drug Administration banned direct injections of silicone in 1992, in part because the substance can migrate within the body and cause chronic, degenerative illness, and immediate respiratory distress.

Contributor: 
Mitch Kellaway