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Camila Guzman came to this country from Chile nine years ago, so that she could, in fact, be Camila Guzman.

She would say that back in her country it wasn't accepted and her family didn't accept it.

--Flor Bermudez, staff attorney at Lambda Legal…and friend

She resided in East Harlem's 110th Street until she was found stabbed to death in her apartment on August 1.

She was found on her bed with multiple stab wounds in her back, so naturally some print media and online commentary has already leapt to the conclusion that she was a sex worker.  But then, the print media also called her a "Chilean man".

She came here for a better life.

--longtime friend Ruby Chavez. through a translator

Last Thursday evening friends and other members of the LGBT community gathered outside her apartment to call for an end to violence against all members of their community, but particularly transgender women of color, who bare most of the brunt of that violence.

Large pictures of Guzman were flanked by candles and white roses as participants chanted "We're not going to take it anymore," and "We want justice." They shed tears as they remembered Guzman as a loving person who was brave enough to leave her homeland to live in freedom.
She came to the United States and she was herself. She lived her dreams.  And she should not have been killed for that.

--M. Dru Levasseur, Transgender Rights Attorney for Lambda Legal

This should also be noted:  Guzman sold peanuts from a pushcart to make a living.

We are here to remember Camila but to also ask that transgender women be respected by our community, by everyone.  We know in our hearts this crime was based on discrimination against transgender women.

--Ruby Chavez

Camila was like a sister to me. She provided incredible support.  We want justice.

--Carlos Juan Vargos

Also joining the vigil were state Sen. Jose Serrano and East Harlem Councilwoman Malissa Mark-Viverito.  City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer sent representatives.

As much as we think we've become accommodating as a society we still have hate.

--Serrano

We will not accept anyone being discriminated against because of who they are.

--Mark Viverito

44% of anti-LGBT murders nationwide were of transgender women.  Something like 73% of those were women of color (pulled out of distant memory, not my ass).

The road to the end of violence against transgender women begins with tolerance and understanding. Chavez called for the United States to adopt sexual orientation as a reason for granting political asylum. Vargos' mother urged parents to accept their LGBTQ children.
If your son or daughter is LGBT, please accept them as they are because the violence begins at home.

--Bermudez, while holding her daughter

We are gathered here to do what Camila lived for which is to fight for dignity.

--Melissa Sandel, prevention specialist with the Community Healthcare Network's Transgender Family Program


Originally posted to TransAction on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 11:01 AM PDT.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women.

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