Lorena BorjasAge 59
30 Mar 2020
Queens, New York (USA)
Lorena died from the COVID-19 coronavirus. She was the mother of the trans Latinx community in Queens, and advocated for trans victims of trafficking, slavery and violence.
Heartbroken to share that #LorenaBorjas, a prolific trans organizer & Queens activist, passed away from COVID-19.
Lorena championed mutual aid in the LGBT+ community, and her Community Fund was saving lives of queer people & immigrants impacted by COVID:
Lorena Borjas was a true Jackson Heights, Queens original—a trans Latina who bailed ppl out of jail, saved sex workers from policing & fought racism & transphobia. COVID took a real one. My heart goes out to all who knew her (& to all she didn’t know who she worked for anyway). https://t.co/cyc9M3l28H— Dr. Steven W. Thrasher (@thrasherxy) March 30, 2020
When transgender women in Queens needed a safe place to be tested for H.I.V., Lorena Borjas turned her home into a clinic. When others were arrested for prostitution, she bailed them out. She died of complications of the coronavirus. https://t.co/4K6PdPVqbu— NYT Obituaries (@NYTObits) April 5, 2020
Lorena had a long history of activism trying to protect trans people - and in particular those who were victims of trafficking, slavery and violence - in New York.
Borjas, 60, was known as the mother of the trans Latinx community in Queens. As a survivor of human trafficking, she dedicated the past 30 years of her life to protecting other transgender victims of trafficking, slavery and violence.
A large number women she helped were immigrants who were excluded and stigmatised by their families. Borjas was known for hosting them in her own apartment until they were able to support themselves.
She spent years walking the streets and supporting others to escape abusive situations, providing condoms and food, connecting trans women to services and support, and even set up a weekly HIV testing clinic in her own home.
In 2019 the short documentary Queens Stories: The Story of Lorena Borjas: The Transgender Latina Activist told her story.