El Paso

Transgender woman arrested by ICE to be given "minimum dose" of estrogen pills

Transgender woman arrested by ICE...

EL PASO, Texas - The attorneys representing Irvin Gonzalez, the transgender woman arrested by ICE agents February 9, 2017, were in court Monday, requesting hormone treatment in the form of estrogen pills.

Gonzalez made national headlines after ICE agents escorted her out of the county courthouse moments after she filed protective order against a boyfriend who allegedly abused her.

Gonzalez was also present in Judge Ann Berton's courtroom Monday. The inmate wore a dark blue prison scrub, her arms and legs shackled.

The 33-year-old began transitioning two years ago, according to one of her attorneys, Melissa Untereker. Gonzalez is distraught and suffering from the side effects of stopping her hormone therapy, which she hasn't been able to get in jail, she said.

Untereker said she believes Gonzalez's boyfriend was the one who tipped off ICE because nobody else knew about the court date. ICE says it was notified by a law enforcement agency but provided no specifics about the tip.  The arrest sparked outrage among local officials and domestic abuse victim advocates who said a courtroom that issues protective orders is no place to arrest someone.

Gonzalez is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service while she faces a federal charge of illegal re-entry into the United States. 

The Marshal's Service approved approved a "minimum dose" estrogen treatment in court Monday. The US Attorney's Office also requested a complete physical and mental examination of Gonzalez. Judge Berton agreed and ordered the exams.

Gonzalez has been deported six times since 2010 and has a recent conviction of possession of stolen mail, ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa said.

"Gonzalez also has a lengthy criminal history with at least eight convictions on charges including false imprisonment, assault, larceny, domestic violence and illegal re-entry," Zamarripa said. Gonzalez was most recently deported to Mexico on Jan. 23, but she quickly returned to the U.S. She then sought a protective order against a boyfriend she accused of severe physical abuse and death threats on three occasions during their nine-month relationship.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office told ABC-7 Monday transgender inmates are housed separately for their own safety, unless they have already undergone gender reassignment surgery.

The Sheriff's Officer further stated, that once approved, "Transgender inmates will receive estrogen pills during regular medication rounds, and as with all medication, there will be a follow up with the medical provider and labs as needed."

ABC-7 asked how much estrogen pills cost, since taxpayers will pay for the treatment, but the Sheriff's Office was unable to obtain that information by deadline.


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