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Alexis Rivera Dead: Transgender Rights Advocate Dies In California

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California's transgender community is mourning the loss of one of its most accomplished and revered leaders this week.

A number of media outlets are reporting that Alexis Rivera, 34, died March 28 of complications related to HIV in San Francisco. Officials for the Transgender Law Center, where Rivera had worked as a policy advocate since 2007, wrote in an email statement:

"Alexis advocated for statewide policy change and trained hundreds of transgender community members to build relationships with their elected officials. During this time, Alexis was also a leader of the Transgender Law Center’s Health Care Access Project and helped secure affordable transgender health care services in several counties across California.

Alexis received many awards and honors in recognition of her leadership, including the Trans-Unity Trailblazer and Spirit Awards, the Latino Caucus on HIV Prevention Leadership Award, and the first QUEST Advocacy Pageant sash in 2002."

A blogger identifying themselves only as "Alexis' sister" also wrote, "Alexis was an amazing community activist. She was also a mother. She also became a grandmother a month before she died. She was also a sister, a daughter, a grand-daughter and and an aunt. She was a mentor to so many, and a friend to many, many more."

Added Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center, in a statement: "She understood that we are stronger together, and she kept organizing until the very end. Alexis' death is a reminder that the fight for equality -- and against AIDS -- is far from over."

In describing her commitment and passion for her community, Rivera is quoted as having stated, “My activism is rooted from love.”

Memorials for Rivera will be held this weekend in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. For more information, click here.

Take a look at other transgender pioneers below:

20 Transgender Pioneers
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CORRECTION: An earlier version of the slideshow in this article listed Anna Grodzka as Europe's first transgender parliamentarian. She is actually the second after Italian MP Vladimir Luxuria, who was elected in 2006.

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