US Human Rights Network Blog

US Human Rights Network Blog



Rest in Power Lorena Borjas

Mar 30, 2020

It is with heavy hearts that we announce and mourn the death of Lorena Borjas, a member of the USHRN community who was known as the Mother of the Trans Latinx community in Queens, New York. Lorena worked with the USHRN Sex Workers’ Rights Working Group and contributed to their stakeholder report submission to the United Nations for the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of the United States’ human rights record. Lorena was known for her decades of activism for trans, immigrant, and sex worker communities. She provided free HIV testing out of her own home, advocated for trans folks who were facing deportation proceedings, founded a community fund for low-income LGBTQIA+ immigrants, worked to protect transgender people from trafficking, and much more. Lorena was a pillar of her community and will be deeply missed. Two weeks before her passing, Lorena started a Gofundme campaign to provide emergency funds to trans communities affected by COVID-19. She died on Monday, March 30 at age sixty from the novel coronavirus.

Statement from our members and partners at Best Practices Policy Project, Desiree Alliance, the Black Sex Worker Collective, New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, the Outlaw Project and the Sex Workers’ Rights Working Group:

“Collectively we have been honored to connect for 15 years with the work of Lorena Borjas: Translatina, organizer and founder of the Cólectivo Intercultural Transgrediendo. On March 30, 2020, Lorena died as a result of COVID19. The outpouring of love for Lorena from the trans community, sex workers, and immigrants is a reflection of who she was in all our lives. She was instantly recognizable, strong and glamorous, but she was almost always giving the spotlight to others. Lorena built our community and she was always in this wide network that she generously fed and supported. She created safe spaces for trans Latinas in Queens and drew us all together with the annual Puta Pride marches she hosted. She was a central part of Desiree Alliance’s conferences, she contributed key human rights reports to the United Nations, and she showed up at everyone’s events with her team. Please donate to the last fundraiser she created, a mutual aid fund for transpeople in this health crisis.


Watch this short documentary by Queens Public Television to learn about the life of Lorena Borjas.