Late trans activist and actress Cecilia Gentili honored from NYC to Congress

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Late trans activist and actress Cecilia Gentili honored from NYC to Congress


Loss of a Transformative Activist : Remembering Cecilia Gentili

Last week, the world lost Cecilia Gentili, a transformative figure in the transgender community, at the age of 52. Gentili, known for her roles in activism, acting, and writing, left a profound impact on her colleagues from “Pose,” LGBTQ+ circles, political figures, and numerous individuals she supported throughout her vibrant yet short life.

A National Tribute : Honoring Gentili’s Legacy

This week’s memorials reached a national platform as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York paid homage to Gentili’s enduring spirit on the floor of the House. Sharing a segment of her speech on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez emphasized that Gentili’s quest for equality remains ongoing, committing to carry forward her advocacy, particularly for transgender youth. “Cecilia was a beacon of hope for so many communities,” Ocasio-Cortez reflected during her homage. She recounted Gentili’s remarkable journey and achievements, highlighting her role as a fervent advocate against policies that would harm transgender minors.

From Struggle to Activism : Gentili’s Early Life

Gentili’s story began in Argentina, from where she emigrated to Miami, Florida, in 1999 at the age of 26, with barely any resources. “It took me months to save up, and once I bought my ticket, I took a plane to the U.S. with only $35 in my pocket. The cab ride alone from the airport was $25,” Gentili recounted.

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Overcoming Adversity : The Making of an Advocate

Her initial years in Miami were challenging, as she faced employment barriers due to her undocumented status. Despite these hardships, she relocated to New York City in 2003. Throughout her time in both cities, Gentili navigated through sex work, addiction struggles, legal issues, and the looming threat of deportation. These experiences laid the foundation for her later activism.

A Turn Towards Advocacy : Cecilia’s Impactful Work

In 2010, Gentili’s journey took a pivotal turn as she interned with The LGBT Center’s NYC Anti-Violence Project, supporting LGBTQ+ violence survivors. By 2011, she had been granted political asylum, which allowed her to legally change her name and pursue addiction recovery.

Championing LGBTQ+ Health and Policy

Between 2012 and 2019, Gentili dedicated herself to healthcare and policy advocacy within the LGBTQ+ community. She managed a trans health clinic at the Apicha Community Health Center, significantly expanding its reach. As the Director of Policy at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, she was instrumental in the passage of significant legislation protecting gender expression and identity.

A Legacy of Activism and Support

Gentili’s activism extended to creating the TGNC Equity Coalition, securing city funding for trans-led initiatives, and leading campaigns against discriminatory laws and policies, including challenging efforts to undermine trans protections under the Trump administration.

Financial Contributions and Creative Expressions

Her contributions were also financial, through the Lorena Borjas Trans Equity Fund NYC and founding Trans Equity Consulting, offering guidance on trans-inclusive practices. Additionally, Gentili’s creative talents shone through her one-woman show, television roles, and literary works, further amplifying her voice and vision.

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A Resilient Legacy : The Indelible Mark of Cecilia Gentili

Cecilia Gentili’s legacy is a testament to her resilience, compassion, and unwavering commitment to justice and inclusion, leaving an indelible mark on the communities she championed.

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