January 2, 2021 at 3:49 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Prominent transgender activist in Colombia dies
Laura Weinstein (Photo via Weinstein’s Facebook page)

A prominent transgender activist in Colombia died on Saturday.

Laura Weinstein, director of Fundación Grupo de Acción y Apoyo a Personas Trans (GAAT), a trans rights group based in the Colombian capital of Bogotá, passed away four days after she was hospitalized with difficulty breathing.

“I have been hospitalized since yesterday because of breathing difficulties,” tweeted Weinstein on Dec. 31. “They gave me a COVID test and we are waiting for the results, but not being able to breath is something that I never wish upon anyone.”

Wilson Castañeda Castro, director of Caribe Afirmativo, an LGBTQ advocacy group that works in areas along Colombia’s Caribbean coast, on Saturday told the Washington Blade that Weinstein’s coronavirus test came back negative.

Weinstein had previously fought cancer. Castañeda told the Blade her health had deteriorated in recent months.

“We mourn the death of GAAT Director Laura Weinstein,” tweeted Caribe Afirmativo on Saturday. “The joint work and collaborative effort for all these years forged a great friendship between us and her! We are devastated.”

Castañeda told the Blade that GAAT and Caribe Afirmativo in November requested Colombia’s National Electoral Council develop protocols to ensure trans Colombians can vote, regardless of their gender identity.

Weinstein over the last year worked with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to reduce HIV rates among Venezuelans who have migrated to Colombia. Castañeda said she worked with trans women and in particular sex workers.

Castañeda noted Weinstein a few months ago launched a campaign in Bogotá to support trans women and Venezuelan migrants. Weinstein was also among the Colombian LGBTQ activists who backed the 2016 peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia that ended the country’s decades-long civil war.

“We will always remember her as a great ally, friend and tireless worker for human rights,” tweeted Colombia Diversa, another Colombian LGBTQ advocacy group.

Tatiana Piñeros, a trans woman who ran for the Colombian Senate in 2018, described Weinstein’s death to the Blade as a “big loss.” Mauricio Toro, who is the first openly gay man elected to the Colombian House of Representatives, is among those who also mourned Weinstein’s passing.

“Her fight and her inspiration will endure forever,” he tweeted.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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