Faced with various obstacles to receiving hormone replacement therapy, a growing number of transgender people are resorting to self-medicating with hormone treatments acquired online. In a story about this trend, the Washington Post said the “Deep Web” and even mainstream online marketplaces have provided a “booming black market for trans people desperate to ‘DIY’ their transitions.” In the article, Libby Baney, Faegre Baker Daniels counsel and executive director of the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, emphasized that medication from black market sources exposes users to serious risks.
“I understand people are desperate, particularly when it comes to hormone replacement therapy, but it’s like playing a game of Russian roulette,” Baney said. “You have no idea what you’re getting. It might be a legitimate medication diverted from another market. It might be counterfeit. It might be mixed with chalk or boric acid—and if it doesn’t kill you, it’ll make you sick.”