A Trans Woman Was Found Dead At Rikers Island

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City Panel Likely To Recommend Closing New York City's Infamous Rikers Island Prison

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty

A transwoman has mysteriously been found dead in her jail cell at New York’s Rikers Island and the details surrounding her death are scarce.

According to the New York Post, a transwoman, who has now been identified as Layleen Cubilette of the House of Xtravaganza,  was found dead in her cell at the Rose M. Singer women’s facility at the jail on Friday (June 7). Medics reportedly tried to revive her for an hour but their efforts were unsuccessful.

“Any death in our custody is a tragic loss, and we are looking into how this happened,” ‎a DOC spokesperson told the Post.

On Cubilette’s GoFundMe page, her sister, Melanie, said she is searching for answers about what happened to her Cubilette.  She said Cubilette, known as Layleen Polanco Xtravaganza, was supposed to be released June 13th after being jailed at Rikers after she had a fight.

“All we know is that she got into a fight and got locked up and sent to Rikers,” reads the GoFundMe page. “She was there for a month and was due to come home the 13th of this month. We were notified yesterday that she was found dead in her cell with not much information. We will make sure her story is heard after we find out what happened.”

Today (June 9), Melanie posted that she still has not been given any new details about the circumstances surrounding her sister’s death.

“They still haven’t gave us the family any information only run around.”

Cubilette’s death is the latest in a string of deaths of trans-women of color. She is the tenth trans-woman who has died this year.

Actress Indya Moore of the FX series Pose knew Cubilette and shared her sadness via Instagram.

“I’m so disturbed,” she captioned a picture of Cubilette. “I feel like I’m in a virtual reality. I knew Layleen growing up. I Remember desiring to be beautiful like her. She was cool, and funny too, like all of us she had dreams of escaping poverty and the misery of social ostricisation. She is the 10th trans woman to die this year. No one knows if it was a murder, or how she died but this is the closest black trans death has ever gotten to me and this is extremely alarming and traumatic.”

Her death has sparked a rally that has been organized by the New York City Anti-Violence Project. It will be taking place Monday, June 10th in front of the New York City Criminal Court at 6 p.m.

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