New York’s queer community praise trans advocate Lorena Borjas

New York has become the epicentre of the battle against the COVID-19, with Mayor Bill de Blasio predicting half of the city’s 8 million residents will contract the virus.

A field hospital has been set up in Central Park, 41,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus and over 1,000 have died. Among those lost is transgender advocate Lorena Borjas.

Known as the mother of the trans Latinx community in Queens, Borjas was well known in the Big Apple for her advocacy and support for immigrants, sex workers and members of the transgender community.

Born in Mexico, where she trained as an accountant, she immigrated to the United States in early 20’s and transitioned gender. She shared her apartment with up to 20 transgender sex workers so they did not have to experience homelessness.

In 1995 Borjas decided to make her advocacy her full time work, she spent her time meeting women working on the streets and helping them get support, and even set up a free HIV testing clinic in her home.

Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality described Borjas as a hero.

“Lorena Borjas was a real hero for trans people, especially in Queens. She was a leader, a builder and a healer,” Keisling said in a statement. “The NCTE family is saddened by her passing and has her broad family and the Queens Latinx community in our hearts today.”

Borjas set up a fund which helped LGBTI immigrants who found themselves on the wrong side of the law. Many people have described her as the person you called when you needed help, even if it was at 3am.

As New York braced for the impact of COVID-19 Borjas set up a new fund to help transgender people who had lost their jobs because of the virus. Sadly she was to be among it’s victims.

Lorena Borjas was 60 years old, her obituary has been included in TIME magazine.

OIP Staff

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