Lorena Borjas was born on May 29, 1960 in Veracruz, Mexico, where she studied public accounting in Mexico City as a young woman. She immigrated to the United States in 1981 with the intention of living more freely as a woman. When she first arrived, she shared an apartment in Queens with 20 other transgender women who survived as sex workers. Lorena helped these and other transgender sex workers, beginning with other Mexican trans women and finally working to help all Latin American trans women.
Lorena worked to protect transgender victims of human trafficking (which she had experienced herself), slavery, and violence. She offered shelter to women who had been rejected by their families in her own apartment until they were able to support themselves. She walked the streets looking for women who needed her help, providing them with condoms and food, and connecting them with social services. She worked without pay to facilitate access to HIV testing and hormone therapy for transgender sex workers, including setting up a weekly HIV testing clinic in her home and providing clean syringes for women receiving hormone injections.
In 2008, Lorena the Lorena Borjas Community Fund in order to be able to provide bail assistance l to LGBTIQ2+ defendants. In 2015, she became vice-president of the organization Colectivo Intercultural TRANSgrediendo and assumed the role of Executive Director of this organization.
Before Lorena passed away, she had plans to start a shelter called La Casa Trans Queens, which would serve transgender people, migrants, people living with HIV, and sex workers.
At 59 years old, Lorena died alone in a hospital bed in Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY at 5:20 am on March 31, 2020 from COVID019.
Lorena Borjas - the mother, guardian, hero and healer of the transgender community in Jackson Heights, Queens:
You will always be our Trans mother.
Image is from Translatina Coalition
Lorena Borjas, Transgender Activist and founder of Casa Trans, CITG & LBCF
1960 - 2020