Tax Money Paying for Jailed Illegal Immigrants’ Sex-Change Hormones

Christine Haas, KHOU-TV (Houston), December 4, 2010

While Texas lawmakers overturned legislation in 2006 that allowed inmates to receive Viagra with tax money, some inmates–including illegal immigrants–are still receiving prescribed sex hormones behind bars.

Jose Centeno is proof. He just became a U.S. citizen, but in 2009, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detained him after investigating his immigration status and visa because of a previous felony drug conviction. ICE prescribed him sex hormones while he was locked up, because Centeno said it was medically necessary.

“I’m transgender so I am taking female hormones,” he said. “It’s not a choice, I was born, and I already knew I was born, in the wrong body, so it wasn’t a choice–I need those meds/hormone therapy to be who I am, but it’s not a choice.”

Centeno is now known as Krystal. He appeared to be a woman when he was detained by immigration, and he still does. He has never had surgery to alter his gender and doesn’t plan to, but his daily dose of the female hormone Premarin helps him appear like a woman.

“The first thing you see is the growth of facial hair–it slows down, it doesn’t grow as fast as normal for a male,” Centeno said. “Of course with your breasts growing, your mind starts changing.”

That change comes at a price. Ultimately, tax money paid for the convicted felon–who wasn’t a U.S. citizen–to maintain his appearance as a woman.

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“When you have been taking hormones for so many years, suddenly you stop taking it, you start going back to the person you weren’t happy with–then it turns into depression mode,” Centeno said.

{snip} But ICE did say that since 2006 it’s aware of 45 transgendered detainees who’ve been prescribed hormones.

{snip}

“The fact that he doesn’t want to have facial hair in prison–is that really something the taxpayers should be paying for?” McCaul [U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul] asked.

Transgendered people argued that the hormones are necessary and said the real concern is depression. {snip}

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