Published on April 25th, 2012 | by Wild Gender0
Justice Department Honors Queer Woman For Her Heroism
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder honored Victoria Cruz, a trans woman from East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and 11 others as part of the National Crime Victims’ Service Awards ceremony in Washington D.C.
According to a statement released by Attn. General Holder, Ms. Cruz, a senior domestic violence counselor with the New York City Anti-Violence Project, “empowers her clients to stand up and speak for themselves.”
“I am passionate about the work that I do,” said Ms. Cruz in an interview with the NY Daily News. “People are coming out at a younger age. And putting themselves at risk. This award is making the invincible, visible.”
Ms. Cruz, a resident of East Flatbush, who has been “out” since grad school, is a 66-year-old Latina known as “Vicki,” who herself has weathered homophobia and transphobic violence.
In 1997, she made headlines while working at the Cobble Hill Nursing Home part of a welfare-to-work program when she accused a group of female nurses of groping her while screaming “anti-man” and “battyman,” gay bashing slurs used in West Indian communities. A criminal court judge found two nurses guilty of harassment and acquitted two others.
“I always knew that I was different,” Cruz said in the interview of growing up in the 1950s. “When I was in middle school they would call me ‘queer.’ ‘Gay’ at the time meant a jovial person.”
Attn. Holder acknowledged the recipients of the 2012 Justice Department picks as using “their own experiences into a positive force for sweeping change.”