Pioneering trans woman who fearlessly fought for human rights tragically dies after struggling to breathe

Pioneering transgender activist in Colombia dies in hospital

Laura Weinstein, a prominent transgender activist in Colombia who tragically died, is being remembered as a “tireless worker for human rights”.

Weinstein died on Saturday (2 January), four days after being taken to hospital, struggling to breathe.

She was the director of Fundación Grupo de Acción y Apoyo a Personas Trans (GAAT), a trans rights group based in the Colombian capital of Bogotá.

On 31 December, Weinstein tweeted: “I have been hospitalised since yesterday because of breathing difficulties. 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.”

Weinstein, a cancer survivor, tested negative for COVID-19, but died days later.

“We mourn the death of Laura Weinstein director of GAAT, the joint work for all these years and the collaborative exercise, forged a great friendship between us and her! We are devastated,” tweeted Caribe Afirmativo on Saturday (2 January).

Wilson Castañeda Castro, director of Caribe Afirmativo, an LGBT+ advocacy group that works in areas along Colombia’s Caribbean coast, told the Washington Blade that Weinstein’s health had deteriorated in recent months.

Weinstein was behind recent efforts to ensure that transgender people in Colombia can vote, requesting in November that the Colombia’s National Electoral Council include people regardless of their gender identity. GAAT and Caribe Afirmativo worked together to develop voting protocols for trans citizens.

Weinstein also worked with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to bring down rates of HIV infection among Venezuelans who migrate to Colombia. Castañeda said that Weinstein’s efforts were particularly focused on helping trans woman and sex workers.

Colombian LGBT+ rights group Colombia Diversa said: “We will always remember her as a great ally, friend and tireless worker for human rights.”

A fundraiser for Weinstein’s funeral costs has raised more than $6,000.