- At least 22 trans and non-binary people have met violent deaths in the US this year, including 22-year-old Marilyn.
LGBT+ people and allies will march on Saturday (1 August) to remember murdered 22-year-old homeless transgender woman Marilyn Monroe Cazares.
Police and firefighters in Brawley, California discovered Cazares’ body on 13 July in an abandoned building in the city.
They were responding to a call about a couch fire in the area at around 8.30am. Her family later said someone had stabbed her and set her on fire.
Local law enforcement, the FBI and other agencies are continuing to investigate her death.
However her family and a host of LGBT+ organizations have joined forces to remember her with Saturday’s march and vigil.
It comes at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement is putting a greater focus on the murder of black and Latinx trans women. Cazares was the 22nd trans or nonbinary person to die by violence in the US this year. Most of them have been black or Latinx women.
A statement from the organizers says:
‘The vigil will honor Marilyn’s life, and transgender lives everywhere, by showcasing transgender voices and bringing awareness to the ongoing violence against transwomen, particularly transwomen of color, in this community and beyond.’
‘Just fabulous; always rocking crazy outfits’
The community will remember Marilyn as a vibrant young woman who admired Marilyn Monroe and modern celebrities including Nicki Minaj and Cardi B.
Her aunt, Sonia Casteñeda, said she ‘was just fabulous; always rocking crazy outfits, crazy wigs’.
Marilyn was from Westmorland, located like Brawley in California’s Imperial Valley. And Casteñeda said Marilyn was welcome at the family home. However she felt she could only be her true self away from it, which is why she lived on the streets. Casteñeda explained:
‘That might sound a little crazy to me and you, but I think that’s where [she] was accepted.
‘Some of us didn’t understand the life [she] led. Some of us accepted it, and some of us had the old mentality of you’re not supposed to be living life like that, and some of us just loved [her] unconditional.’
Moreover, Rosa Diaz, CEO of the Imperial Valley LGBT Center, also says Marilyn struggled to be herself in Brawley:
‘Marilyn dreamed of leaving Brawley to find a place to live her truth unapologetically, away from a lack of acceptance and representation.
‘It is this same energy that we wish to bring to the Imperial Valley community with a vigil that rallies much-needed affirmation for her transgender siblings.’
Marilyn’s march and vigil details
The march will start at 6.30pm at the Brawley DMV, 1175 Main St, Brawley, CA.
From there, people will march to the site where Marilyn died. They will then continue to Park Plaza, in the city’s center, for the vigil.
Speakers are likely to include trans activists and public officials. Organizers say everyone is welcome to attend. Meanwhile they will be live streaming on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #WeAreMarilyn for those who can’t make it.