Trans Woman Found Dead in NYC Prison, Family Demands Justice

The Rikers Island inmate has been identified as Layleen Polanco Xtravanganza.

A transgender woman has been discovered dead at Rikers Island, New York Post reports.

According to the New York State Department of Corrections, the inmate was found unresponsive in her cell Friday afternoon at the Rose M. Singer women’s facility. Medics tried to revive her for about an hour before declaring her dead.

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

While unnamed by the publication, the woman has now been identified as Layleen Polanco Xtravaganza.

"I grew up looking to Layleen as my goal," Pose star Indya Moore writes on Twitter. "She was one of the most beautiful women I ever seen who was trans. She and so many other girls were an example to me. She was a member of my house, Xtravaganza."

Community members will gather Monday evening to demand justice for Layleen at a rally in New York.

The DOC "established a trans housing unit to reduce violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people at Rikers. But 'better' incarceration is still incarceration, and trans people are deeply unsafe in this system," writes the New York Anti-Violence Project, the event sponsor. "There is no Pride to be had while trans folks continue to face an epidemic of fatal violence."

"Enough is enough," AVP continues. "We demand a full investigation to into the death of Layleen Polanco Xtravanganza and transparency with community."

A GoFundMe page launched in Layleen's name has already raised more than $5,000 of its $9,000 goal in less than 24 hours.

"At this moment we don’t have much information on what happened to my sister," writes Melania Cubilette. "All we know is that she got into a fight and got locked up and sent to Rikers 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. Please help us lay her to rest," Cubilette continues. "Layleen loved you all even those that didn’t like her very much."

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