"Pose" star and well-known transgender activist Cecilia Gentili died on Tuesday. She was 52. The tragic news of the actress's death was posted on her Instagram page, although the cause of her death has not been revealed. "Our beloved Cecilia Gentili passed away this morning to continue watching over us in spirit," the statement read.
"Please be gentle with each other and love one another with ferocity. We will be sharing more updates about services and what is to come in the following days. At this time, we're asking for privacy, time and space to grieve," it concluded. Tributes started pouring in from the time news of her death broke.
Star in Her Own Right
Gentili, originally from Argentina, publicly came out in 1984. Having been a former sex worker, she openly acknowledged living in the United States as an "undocumented" person for a decade.
In 2012, she was granted asylum in the U.S. Later, she was motivated to help others with similar backgrounds, leading her to champion the rights of undocumented immigrants, sex workers, and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Gentili served as the Director of Policy at GMHC, the world's premier provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and advocacy, from 2016 to 2019.
In 2019, she founded Trans Equity Consulting, with a mission to empower the leadership of trans women of color and prioritize the perspectives of sex workers, immigrants, and incarcerated individuals in building a more equitable world.
Gentili also played a key role in co-founding Transmissions Fest, the first all-trans music festival in New York City, which took place on June 21, 2022. The event aimed to support various LGBTQ+ charities through its proceeds.
"We are often included in Pride events, but we're not centered," she told Them of the rationale for the event. "And there's a difference."
Gentili was part of the cast of the well-received FX series "Pose," which aired from 2018 to 2021. In the show, she portrayed the character Miss Orlando, a woman in New York City known for offering discounted plastic surgery.
Tributes Pour In
Following the confirmation of her death on social media, hundreds of fans swiftly responded to the heartbreaking news. "Pose" co-star Dominique Jackson expressed deep sorrow and paid tribute to Gentili on Instagram, saying that she was "deeply saddened" by her departure.
"Even in death you are force to be reckoned with, your legacy one of movement, love and compassion unapologetic and true," Jackson wrote. "I thank you dearly for ALL the work you have done. You sacrificed you boldly telling your truth and living it and for that you have changed and influenced many lives and the world. I LOVE YOU FOREVER BEAUTIFUL STRONG SISTER! REST WELL!"
"Our community will never be the same without you, Cecilia," wrote US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "Thank you for giving us so much, relentlessly, every single day. You transformed so many lives and shined a light across Jackson Heights, Corona and beyond."
"Pose" actress Angelica Ross and the founder/CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, a company dedicated to employing transgender individuals in the tech industry, shared her condolences on Gentili's death.
She described Gentili as a "fierce advocate" and wished her to "Rest in Power."
Drag performer Chiquitita also paid tribute to Gentili and shared a video of them performing together on stage. In the heartfelt post, Chiquitita expressed gratitude, writing, "I will honor your name for the rest of my life. Thank you for everything. Thank you for being a mother to me."