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Missing Cecelia Gentili

I was supposed to meet with Cecilia Gentilly on Feb. 6th. I was excited; she was an icon with an “in” on a grant one of our sponsored orgs was seeking. I’d met her once or twice in passing but she was a busy woman - being an icon and all - so this was weeks in the making and when she didn’t show I was deeply discouraged.

An hour later, the phone call. Ceyenne Doroshow, the Executive Director of GLITSINC, sobbing: “She’s dead. She missed our meeting because she’s dead”.

A flurry of activity. A hoard of grieving masses. The Mother of Whores, the Patron Saint of NYC trans activists, gone in an instant. A funeral to manage. Emotions to make space for. Politics to navigate.

Cecilia was the reason it was no longer illegal to “walk while trans” in NYS. I personally know people who were released from prison as a result of her legislative efforts to protect victims of sexual labor exploitations. She had a one-woman-show. She worked constantly. She was a powerhouse. A going-home fit for an icon at Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Then come the trolls: “St. Patrick’s holds funeral for atheist transgender prostitute”. The archdiocese says they were “lied to” about Cecilia being trans and vows to hold an “atonement mass” to cleanse the church of her presence. The media inquiries and death threats to Ceyenne and G.L.I.T.S. staff.

Well here’s my take that no one asked for:

No one can take this away. She was interred the way she should have been. It was the funeral of the century. I’d challenge the Pope himself to out-vogue a single woman of the thousand + at that memorial. Her people will carry on the memory of her passion in the work forever.

To the Catholic Church and Saint Patrick's cathedral administrators and the New York Arch Diocese, I say this:

“You’re tied to this funeral forever too, you fucking trick bitch losers. You owe her estate, and G.L.I.T.S., money for this trouble. Cecilia was a baptized Catholic, cowards. She gave her entire life to her people. What have you done for them lately?”

Dear Cecilia: You live on in the hearts of thousands of activists worldwide. Death can’t diminish what your dedication and care meant to the people around you. Thank you.

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