U.S. activists set aside day to remember transgender victims of violence

Layleen Cubilette-Polanco had experienced some rough patches in her 27 years but had tried to change course, seeking to switch out of previous jobs as a go-go dancer and sex worker for employment in places like McDonald's and Walgreens, her sister said.
She never completed that journey. Cubilette-Polanco died in June of complications from epilepsy in New York's notorious Rikers Island jail where she spent her final two months, unable to make $500 bail.
On Wednesday, transgender advocates across the country will pause to commemorate people like Cubilette-Polanco for the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Vigils will draw attention to at least 22 transgender people, almost all of them black women, who have been killed so far in 2019. A similar number have been killed in each of the past seven years, as tracked by the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy in the United States.
The campaign will make special note of Cubilette-Polanco. Though she was not a homicide victim like the others, her story illustrates the insecurity of trans women of color, who are more likely to be unemployed and lack access to healthcare.
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