January Marie LapuzAge 26
29 Sep 2012
New Westminster, British Columbia (Canada)
TDoR list ref: tgeu/29-Sep-2012/January Marie Lapuz
January was stabbed at around 10pm on Saturday 29th September. She died in hospital.
A Vancouver support group for the transgender community is mourning the loss of one of their members after she was stabbed to death on Saturday.
Police identified the victim of New Westminster’s first homicide of the year Thursday as 26-year-old January Marie Lapuz, who legally changed her name from [deadname] in 2008.
The stabbing death happened in the 500-block of 3rd Avenue at about 10 p.m. on Saturday and Lapuz died later in hospital. Police said an Asian man, around 5-5 tall, was seen running from the scene.
January was the first transgender person to hold an executive position with Sher Vancouver, a support group for South Asian gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Alex Sangha, Founder of Sher Vancouver, a support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender South Asians said the community is shocked and saddened by her death.
“She was very young and really a bright light and shining star,” Sangha said. “Everyone is very sad and very shocked. The way she died was very sad.”
Sangha said Lapuz, who became social coordinator of Sher Vancouver in 2009, faced a lot of challenges as a transgender woman.
“She had a lot of inner turmoil as a woman who was transgender and living in poverty with limited social support as an immigrant,” Sangha said. “We’re already very at risk in the community, a lot of people stigmatize [transgender people] and I just think it’s horrible – it’s a huge loss.”
Despite these challenges, Sangha said she excelled as social coordinator of the group. “She was so natural with people, such great communication skills. She was the host of all our events, did fundraising… she was a great singer, she was a good public speaker,” Sangha said.
In 2014 Charles Jameson "Jamie" Neel, 20, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years in prison. He was paroled in June 2019 but recalled to prison in November 2019 after violating his parole conditions.
In September 2018 the documentary "My Name Was January" was released. The documentary explors her life through the voices of her friends and other trans women of colour.
The January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award is named in her memory.
TvT Project: Xtra, 04.10.2012; CTV British Colombia, 04.10.2012