‘Pose’ actress Cecilia Gentili dead, Dominique Jackson tributes

Cecilia Gentili — a legendary activist among the New York City queer scene who went on to star opposite Dominique Jackson in FX’s beloved TV series Pose — has died at age 52

A post on Gentili’s Instagram Story confirmed news of her death on Tuesday, with Jackson joining many others in paying tribute to her online.

“AN ACTIVIST, AN ICON, A TRAILBLAZER, A MOTHER, A WIFE, AN ACTRESS AND COMEDIAN, AN AMAZING SISTER AND A PHENOMENAL HUMAN BEING!” Jackson shared on social media alongside a clip of the pair performing on Pose, on which Gentili played Miss Orlando, who first appeared on season 1 as a New York City woman who provides deeply discounted cosmetic surgery.

‘Pose’ actress Cecilia Gentili.

FX Networks/YouTube

Earlier, Jackson shared another post about Gentili’s death, in which she elaborated on her relationship to the community staple who dedicated a large portion of her life to advancing LGBTQIA+ causes through advocation primarily for HIV/AIDS awareness as well as equity for sex workers and transgender people.

“I am deeply saddened by your departure dear sister! Even in death you are force to be reckoned with, your legacy one of movement, love and compassion unapologetic and true. I thank you dearly for ALL the work you have done,” Jackson wrote. “You sacrificed you boldly telling your truth and living it and for that you have changed and influenced many lives and the world. I LOVE YOU FOREVER BEAUTIFUL STRONG SISTER! REST WELL!”

Jackson’s posts prompted responses from other notable figures in the community, including nightlife legend Amanda Lepore, trailblazing America’s Next Top Model contestant and actress Isis King, fellow Pose actress Hailie Sahar, and Angelica Ross, who wrote, “REST IN POWER CECILIA” on her Instagram Story after also appearing alongside Gentili on Pose.

Outside of her work on Pose and as a published author of her book Faltas: Letters to Everyone in My Hometown Who Isn’t My Rapist, Gentili’s activism led to a partnership with the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in 2021, which resulted in the creation of her namesake Cecilia’s Occupational Inclusion Network health program that provided free care for sex workers.

She also planned to star in her one-woman show, Red Ink, in New York City in April, which was set to follow her early life in Argentina and her lifelong dedication to “searching for faith while trans,” according to a show synopsis.

In a tribute to Gentili’s life, GLAAD summarized her impact on the community in a quote lifted from the Surviving Transphobia anthology text.

“I say this to trans people, trans women of color, and to trans women of color who are undocumented or sex workers or both, people like me: Do what you can to achieve whatever level of empowerment you can get, but also be safe,” Gentili wrote, per GLAAD. “I’ll probably never call myself radical, especially in two countries with such high rates of trans femicide and histories of coups. I’m okay with it. I never want to judge my work by how ‘radical’ I am. But I do judge it on what I’m doing for my people and for myself.”

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