|Born||1945/1946 (age 72–73)|
Guánica, Puerto Rico, U.S.
|Residence||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Known for||LGBT rights activism|
Victoria Cruz is an American LGBT rights activist and retired domestic violence counselor. A contemporary of activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, she is featured in the 2017 documentary The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.
Early life and education
Cruz was born in Guánica, Puerto Rico. At the age of four, she moved with her family, which grew to 11 children, to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Cruz came out as transgender at a young age, later stating "I was born different and I always acted as a female." Her family was supportive of her.
Cruz graduated from high school with a cosmetology license, and later majored in theater at Brooklyn College. After finding a doctor to assist in her gender transition, Cruz performed as a stripper and dancer at clubs in the West Village. She was at the Stonewall Inn at the time of the Stonewall riots; she was dating one of the club's doormen. In 1970, Cruz was in the first Gay Pride march.
Career and activism
Cruz then began working at the Cobble Hill Nursing Home. In 1996, four female co-workers groped and harassed her. With the help of the Anti-Violence Project, she reported the assault. Two of the four women were found guilty of harassment; the others were acquitted.
Cruz began working with the Anti-Violence Project in 1997. She dedicated her life to helping LGBT victims of violence and rape.
In 2017, Cruz was featured in the David France documentary The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. In the film, Cruz conducts an investigation into how Johnson, whose 1992 death was initially ruled a suicide, really died. Cruz has referred to Johnson as the "Rosa Parks of our community." The documentary premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, and was subsequently acquired by Netflix for worldwide distribution, with a release date of October 6.
Honors and recognition
- Desta, Yohana (October 3, 2017). "Meet the Transgender Activist Fighting to Keep Marsha P. Johnson's Legacy Alive". Vanity Fair. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- Steiner, Laura (April 27, 2012). "Victoria Cruz, Latina Transgender, Given Award From Justice Department For Her Work With Abuse Victims". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- Weichselbaum, Simone (April 25, 2012). "Feds honor 66-year-old East Flatbush transgender woman". New York Daily News. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- Schager, Nick (April 23, 2017). "Tribeca Film Review: 'The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson'". Variety. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- Carlson, Adam (September 29, 2017). "Was LGBTQ Icon Marsha P. Johnson Killed Because of Her Activism?". People. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- Tourjée, Diana (March 18, 2016). "Activists Rally as Accused Killer of Young Trans Woman Refuses Plea Deal". Vice. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- Eng, Matthew (April 20, 2017). "A Heroine, Rediscovered: David France on THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON". Tribeca Film Festival. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- McNary, Dave (June 2, 2017). "Netflix Buys Documentary 'The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson'". Variety. Retrieved October 4, 2017.