Fund Seeks to Address Police Profiling of Transgender Women

Back in March, El Diario La Prensa reported that transgender women often face harassment from police, who assume they’re prostitutes. Last week the publication profiled Lorena Borjas, who has started a fund to provide transgender people in Queens, especially immigrants, with financial and legal aid after being arrested. Below is the article by reporter Zaira Cortés, translated from the Spanish version in El Diario La Prensa.

Lorena Borjas, a Mexican transsexual with over 25 years of activism in the area, has started the Lorena Borjas Community Fund, which provides legal assistance and funding to pay bail for low-income and immigrant members of the transgender community in Queens. (Photo by Zaira Cortes/EDLP)

Transgender women who are unable to pay for bail after being arrested will be able to receive financial and legal assistance from the Lorena Borjas Community Fund, an initiative launched because of a rise in police harassment in Queens, according to activists.

Lorena Borjas, a transgender Mexican woman who has been an activist in the area for more than 25 years, said that in the last two years, transgender women have been the victims of police hostility in some Queens neighborhoods, and particularly in Jackson Heights.

Borjas, 52, said that transsexuals living there don’t feel free to walk in the streets for fear of being arrested solely because of their appearance. Borjas stressed that these women are charged with prostitution if a police officer finds more than three condoms in their purse.

“Healthcare authorities distribute condoms and they want people to protect themselves,” Borjas said, “but the police assume that a transsexual with contraceptives is a prostitute.”

To address the situation, Borjas began a fundraising campaign to bail out women who get arrested. She explained that the project will not only assist Latina transsexuals.

“This initiative will support the entire LGBT community, no matter what someone’s nationality is,” she said.

Borjas said that besides providing legal aid, the fund will cover bail set by the New York City Police Department and by immigration authorities. Two law schools in Long Island and Brooklyn are handling some of the cases.

“We want to prevent women from getting deported, since being transsexuals and minorities makes us more vulnerable,” she said.

Borjas turned to various pro-immigrant advocacy groups to collect donations, and she organized events, shows and raffles, eventually raising thousands of dollars. In the future, she hopes to expand the fund’s resources to support transsexuals in other boroughs.

Borjas works with the AIDS Center of Queens County and said that in the coming weeks, she will open an office for the Lorena Borjas Fund in Jackson Heights.

Borjas is known for her activism in the transgender community, especially in Woodside, where she organizes groups that advocate for LGBT rights. She also works with Trans Latinas, a collective of transsexual Latinas that strive to create more tolerance within the Latino community and among the authorities.

In a notice of a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Lorena Borjas Community Fund held on April 27 at The Center, the organization’s website offers more information on the initiative:

LBCF Fund is a volunteer-run project created to institutionalize the support that Lorena has provided for years. The LBCF Fund supports low-income gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and gender non-conforming immigrants avoid the collateral consequences associated with criminal convictions, jail time and court appearances.

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Unbearable (In)visibility of Being Trans | Hypeman Events

  2. Senora Lorena Borjas.
    My nombre es Jessica Ritchie.
    Me someti hace treinta y cinco anos a una cirujia decambio de genero ( homre a mujer)
    My hemana gemela fue asesinado hace unos anos por un crimen de -odio
    No tengo familia alguna y la que tengo en mexico son homofobicos.
    La policia me a hecho su victima varias veces
    Cuando perdi mi casa tuve la necesidad de rentar un cuarto garage.
    La mujer a la que le rente ,despues de un tiempo le llego la informacion de que yo era un “joto” como ella me llamaba,y decidio pedirle a una amiga de ella que me echaran del pais.
    Un dia llegaron a mi cuarto y cuando habri la puerta me encontre con dos ogros con un gesto de odio,atropelladamente en medio de insultos y aventones a las paredes me subieron a una camioneta y como un criminal me aventaron a la carcel de immigracion .Sin ningun juicio ante el juez me aventaron a mexico de donde soy originaria.
    Llegando a mexico tuve un atentado en contra de mi vida ,y esta fue la catapulta que me obligo a regresar a los Estdos Unidos pidiendo asylo politico.(tengo corte el dia nueve de julio )
    E buscado po cielo mar y tierra quien me ayude y nadie me quiere ayudar ,inclusive fui ‘Al Centro’ de LGTB y no pueden ayudarme.
    Senora Borjia.
    Yo le suplico ,le imploro por amor a Dios Padre todo poderoso ,si es que puede por medio de su fundacion
    Estoy muy enferma ,fui diagnosticada con ostheoporosis severa ,dolor cronico,post dramatic stress disorder ,desde el dia que mi hermano fue asesinado,coronary hearht diseaced y estoy viviendo en una casita donde se guardan las herramientas
    Senora Borja por favor ayudeme yo le vivire eternamente agradecida
    Tengo miedo Y pienso en varias formas de acabar con esto y siento alivio,pero no me atrevo
    Por favor ayudeme ya son muchos anos de injusticia,nosotras somos hermanas de la misma vida
    Jessica Ritchie
    (619) 804 6220

    ( Los mounstos hombres de immigration me arrestaron como Jesus Domeque )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>