CHICAGO – Following a courageous, four-year fight to secure the gender-affirming care necessary for her health while in the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons, Cristina Nichole Iglesias recently underwent surgery without complications on March 30, 2023. She is recovering well from the surgery. 

Ms. Iglesias is scheduled for facial feminization care in June 2023. 

“We are pleased that Cristina has finally received the constitutionally-mandated health care she has sought for years, and that she is recovering well from the surgery,” said Taylor Brown, Staff Attorney for the LGBTQ & HIV Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. “While we have waited for this day for Cristina, we know that her victory also is going to benefit other transgender people in BOP custody, changing their lives for the better as well.” 

The medical care for Ms. Iglesias follows a federal court order in April 2022 pursuant to a settlement agreement mandating that the Bureau of Prisons secure appropriate medical care, including surgery, for Ms. Iglesias.

Earlier this year, another BOP detainee became the first person to receive gender affirming surgery, a process bolstered by Ms. Iglesias’s lawsuit. While there are more than 1,200 transgender people currently in BOP custody, no one had ever received gender affirming surgery until this year.

“This life-saving care for Cristina and others is the result of Cristina’s courage and fortitude,” added Michelle Garcia, Deputy Legal Director at the ACLU of Illinois in Chicago. “Others in her position might have lost hope and stopped pressing for her basic dignity. What Cristina has done will benefit her and countless others for years to come.”

Ms. Iglesias continues to recover from her surgery and is not available for comment.  Ms. Iglesias is represented by a legal team that includes counsel from the ACLU of Illinois, the American Civil Liberties Union, Winston & Strawn LLP, and Feirich/Mager/Green/Ryan.