TDoR 2019 / 2019 / June / 07 / Layleen Cubilette Polanco Xtravaganza

Layleen Cubilette Polanco Xtravaganza

7 Jun 2019
Rikers Island, New York (USA)
Died in custody

TDoR list ref: tgeu/7-Jun-2019/Layleen Cubilette Polanco Xtravaganza

Layleen Cubilette Polanco Xtravaganza
Layleen Cubilette Polanco Xtravaganza [photo:]

Layleen was found dead in a jail cell in the Rose M. Singer women's facility on Rikers Island on the afternoon of Friday 7th June.

At this moment we don’t have much information on what happened to my sister. All we know is that she got into a fight and got locked up and sent to Rikers she was there for a month and was due to come home the 13th of this month. We were notified yesterday that she was found dead in her cell with not much information. We will make sure her story is heard after we find out what happened. Please helps us lay her to rest. This was a very unexpected death and a big loss to her family and friends. Anything helps, thank you in advance as you all k ow Layleen loved you all even those that didn’t like her very much. Thank you all

Layleen had been incarcerated for a month on a misdemeanour charge, and was due to be released on 13th June. At the time of her death she was being held in solitary confinement.

Polanco was in the Rose M. Singer center, the women’s jail on Rikers Island, in a specialized unit for transgender women, according to a Correction Department spokesperson.

She was being held on $500 bail for prostitution and lowest-level drug possession charges stemming from a 2017 arrest, records show.

Jail officials put Polanco in solitary as punishment for her part in a fight, sources said.

An undercover cop arrested Polanco in August 2017 for allegedly agreeing to engage in oral sex for money and having what police called a crack pipe in her pocket, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

A vigil for her was held on Monday 10th June.

On Monday, community will come together to demand justice for Layleen Polanco Xtravaganza who was found dead in her cell at Rose M Singer Center at Rikers last Friday evening.

NYC’s Department of Corrections established a trans housing unit to reduce violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people at Rikers. But “better” incarceration is still incarceration, and trans people are deeply unsafe in this system.

This tragic loss of yet another member of the trans community comes just days after the start of Pride season. There is no Pride to be had while trans folks continue to face an epidemic of fatal violence

Layleen was a member of the House of Xtravaganza, a preeminent group on the city’s ballroom scene.

Fellow house member Jimmy Xtravaganza spoke to THE CITY about Polanco after a demonstration for her in Manhattan’s Foley Square on Monday night.

He remembered his five-foot-three, Dominican-born friend as “so spunky, so full of life.”

“And positive, always, never, ever, ever drama,” he said. “She was a hell of a time. A beautiful person, never really in conflicts.”

Melania Brown, Polanco’s sister, spoke to the crowd at Foley Square through tears. “They treated my sister like she was nothing for how she decided to be happy,” she said.


Report added: 9 Jun 2019. Last updated: 13 Jan 2021

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This site contains reports of violence against transgender people, and links to detailed reports which contain graphic imagery.

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