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Cecilia Gentili, ‘Pose’ Actress and LGBTQ Activist, Dies at 52

Cecilia Gentili, beloved Pose actress and longtime trans activist, has died. She was 52.

A post on Gentili’s Instagram announced her death Tuesday afternoon. “Our beloved Cecilia Gentili passed away this morning to continue watching over us in spirit,” the announcement read. “Please be gentle with each other and love one another with ferocity.”

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A post on her Instagram Story that same day announced plans for a memorial held at New York City’s Judson Memorial Church on Wednesday evening. “The first of many services,” the post read.

Gentili was born in Argentina in 1972. She played Miss Orlando, a New York City woman who provided discounted plastic surgery, in FX’s Pose, which ran from 2018 to 2021. Her co-star, Dominique Jackson, posted a tribute on Tuesday, writing she was “deeply saddened” by Gentili’s “departure.”

“Even in death you are a force to be reckoned with, your legacy one of movement, love and compassion unapologetic and true,” Jackson continued. “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.”

Outside of Pose, Gentili was also a lifelong activist for the LGBTQ community and published author of Faltas: Letters to Everyone in My Hometown Who Isn’t My Rapist.

In 2021, she partnered the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, which provides health care and related services for New York’s LGBTQ communities, regardless of someone’s ability to pay, to create Cecilia’s Occupational Inclusion Network, which provides free health care for sex workers.

“Cecilia was a fierce, fearless advocate and a leader, who spoke candidly about her own experiences as a trans woman of color,” read a statement from Callen-Lorde. “In doing so, she inspired countless others and truly paved the way for our communities — especially, sex workers and trans women of color — to access high quality and judgment free healthcare.”

Before Callen-Lorde, Gentili served as the Director of Policy at GMHC, the world’s leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, and worked with Trans Equity Consulting, AIDS Institute, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Funders for LGBTQ Issues and more. She was also a founding member of Decrim NY, a coalition working toward decriminalization of sex workers.

On Tuesday, GLAAD also posted a tribute to Gentili, writing that she was “a pillar in the trans community, a dedicated advocate, a striking actress on the hit TV program Pose, an incredible journalist and a sex worker.”

Per GLAAD’s post, Gentili’s one-woman show Red Ink was slated to make a comeback at the Public Theater this April.

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