A crowd of Jackson Heights residents held candles and prayed during vigil in honor of Queens LGBTQ icon, Ms. Colombia, on on Oct. 5 in front of the Jackson Heights Post Office, 78-02 37th Ave.
Ms. Colombia was found dead in the water off of Jacob Riis Park in Far Rockaway on Oct.3, according to police and Councilman Daniel Dromm.
The 64-year-old Jackson Heights resident, whose real name was Osvaldo Gomez, was famous for wearing extravagant and colorful outfits. She was referred to as “a treasure of Queens” by Councilman Francisco Moya. Her body was found at 3:30 a.m.
No foul play is suspected, although an autopsy is being performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine an exact cause of death.
“While life did not always treat Ms. Colombia with all the respect she was due, New Yorkers will remember Ms. Colombia as a hero to everyone,” said Dromm, who fondly remembered marching with Ms. Colombia at the first Queens Pride Parade. “Her cheerfulness and ability to bring a smile to the faces of all who met her will be missed by all New Yorkers.”
Ms. Colombia gained wider recognition through 2015 docuseries called “No Your City,” that profiled unique New York City characters. In the film she revealed that she had been a lawyer in her native Colombia before moving to Queens in 1975. After being diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s, she chose to live life freely and by nobody else’s rules but her own.
“I like to be free … They ask me, are you homo? Are you gay, are you lesbian? And I say, no, I am human being from another planet,” she said in the video.
Those in attendance at the memorial vigil will include Dromm, the family of Ms. Colombia, members of Make the Road NY, Founder of Lavender and Green Alliance Brendan Fay, members of Queens Pride, members of the NYC Anti-Violence Project, members of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and members of Generation Q.