Tributes pour in for trailblazing Pose star Cecilia Gentili: ‘Go kiki with the ancestors’

Tributes are flowing in from the LGBTQ+ community after beloved actress, author, and trans latina activist Cecilia Gentili tragically passed away aged 52.

As an actress, Gentili stood out with her memorable portrayal of Ms. Orlando on the groundbreaking series Pose, which illuminated the experiences of trans women of colour during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

News of her death broke on Tuesday (February 6), when close friends and family took to her Instagram page to announce her passing, saying: “Our beloved Cecilia Gentili passed away this morning to continue watching over us in spirit. Please be gentle with each other and love one another with ferocity.”

Gentili was seen by many as a symbol of hope and resilience. Her journey from Argentina to the bustling streets of New York City was marked by her continuing unwavering advocacy for marginalised communities, from undocumented immigrants to sex workers.

She took pivotal roles at prominent organisations like New York City–based AIDS non-profit GMHC and founded Trans Equity Consulting, where her mission was to amplify the voices of marginalised communities.

Her activism also took the form of initiatives like Transmissions Fest, a music festival aimed at putting transgender voices centre stage, and fundraising event Fierce Futures in support of Black trans people.

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Tributes to Cecilia poured in across social media from a range of people from all walks of life.

American writer and book editor Raquel Willis said: “Cecilia Gentili was a living legend. A titan, an unapologetic example of trans joy and power. Her spirit lives on in all whom she touched and all she built for us. Rest powerfully and peacefully, Mami. And go kiki with the ancestors. You deserve eternal pleasure.”

American activist and writer Eli Erlick added: “Shocked and saddened to learn that @CeciliaGentili
has passed away. She was a pillar of the community and touched so many of our lives. May she rest in power.”

Another person shared their memories of Gentili, saying: “In 2017 I did a long oral history interview with Cecilia Gentili on her extraordinary and brilliant life. The interview affected me deeply, reshaping my understanding of so much. Devastated to just learned she has passed away.”

All of the tributes made one thing very clear: that Cecilia Gentili’s impact had transcended boundaries and will linger for decades to come.

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