“Lorena Borjas dedicated her life to fighting for her trans latinx communities. She built systems of mutual aide and likely was personally responsible for saving the lives of thousands of trans women in the United States. In March, early in the pandemic, she died of COVID-19. Her history of trauma and discrimination made her more susceptible to premature death. But even in her final days, from her hospital bed, she was working to build infrastructure and resources for her community. We fight in her honor and to continue her legacy.
I choose to invoke her name and story to remind us as we engage with systems of law and the physical buildings in which legal decisions are made that ultimately the legal apparatus and our legal system are murderous. We may reform them and work within them at times for harm reduction but we must remember how dangerous they are. Lorena modeled what it looked like to build outside of and against the systems that she knew would kill her.”
Chase Strangio is an American lawyer and transgender rights activist. He is a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In 2013 Strangio began working for the ACLU. Strangio served as lead counsel for the ACLU team representing transgender U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning. He was also part of the team suing on behalf of trans student Gavin Grimm, who was denied access to the boys’ restrooms at his school. In October 2019, Strangio was one of the lawyers representing Aimee Stephens, a trans woman who was fired from her job at a funeral home, in the U.S. Supreme Court case R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Hear from Chase Strangio: