Originally published in somewhat similar form in the Los Angeles Blade.
Juro’s career as a Trans advocate and LGBTQ+ writer/journalist spanned several publications over the past fifteen plus years.
PHILADELPHIA – A powerful voice for the Trans community, writer and journalist Rebecca Juro died at the hospital on Saturday, December 17, suffering from complications caused by lung cancer. In a Facebook post on Sunday, her brother Steve Juro wrote, “Sad news…my sister Rebecca Juro passed away last night. She lived a tough, multi-faceted life that took her down a number of different paths.”
The ‘T’ is not silent in LGBT was Rebecca Juro’s mantra and there aren’t likely better words for her life’s work.
Juro continued in the tribute to his sibling writing; “She was a writer, a strong advocate for Trans issues, a companion for my mother, a punk rocker (Joan Jett groupie, see picture) and many other things. We weren’t that close and we often saw things differently, but we were family and loved and accepted each other. She would always fight for what she believed. She was battling lung cancer, thought she was beating it, but then it took her. We will miss her and she will always be remembered.”
People think there was Sylvia Rivera and the next thing you know there was Laverne Cox, but it is not like that. So much has happened in the middle.
Juro’s career as a Trans advocate and LGBTQ+ writer/journalist spanned several publications over the past fifteen plus years including The Bilerico Report, The Advocate, Windy City Times, South Florida Gay News, and The Huffington Post among many others in the queer press.
Juro was indefatigable in her advocacy for Trans people and she took no prisoners when it came to defining and defending the issues that mattered. Juro was known for her mantra of “the ‘T’ is not silent” which was illustrated by a remembrance post on Juro’s Facebook page by Marisa Richmond, a black transgender woman who teaches history and women’s studies as a professor at Middle Tennessee State University who wrote: “She was passionate and committed to trans rights, and did not take any bullshit from anyone who dismissed our identities.
Juro, in a bio written for The Bilerico Project, listed that she had worked with and supported the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey. She also served as Co-Chair of the Trans and Allies Caucus of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association during 2004 and 2005.
In his tribute on Juro’s Facebook page, Jerame Davis, a co-founder of The Bilerico Project and the current Executive Director of Pride At Work wrote; “I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Rebecca Juro. I’ve known Becky since the very beginning of Bilerico Project days – well over 15 years. She was fierce, loyal, and direct.
My first tangle with Becky was over one of her headlines she had written on Bilerico that I had changed. The subject line of her email said, “My title is my fucking title” and we were off to the races. But we developed a long-time friendship and mutual respect. I’ll miss her snark and wit.”
Others posting remembered her commitment and drive as an activist and writer on trans issues. Bil Browning, the editor of LGBTQ Nation and co-founder of The Bilerico Project noted; “The world lost a warrior today. I find myself with no words big enough to say about the woman who refused to shut up. While your voice may not be heard anymore, Rebecca Juro, thanks in part to your inspiration and determination, the T is not silent.”
Sirius Radio host and writer/journalist Michelangelo Signorile commented, “Becky, was a force, so passionate and I loved laughing with her, arguing with her, and fighting hate with her. She will be missed.”
Juro also hosted a podcast/radio show of her own covering Trans & Queer news, activism, commentary, music, and more.
She was also very transparent in her struggles with life, thoughts of committing suicide, her being Trans, and other issues.
Journalist Dawn Ennis upon learning of the death of her friend wrote; ‘I am heartbroken to learn of your passing, my friend, my fellow long-suffering Mets fan, and the greatest fan of Joan Jett there ever was. You live on in your outstanding writing and in our hearts.”
Juro sat down for an interview in Philadelphia, on June 2, 2016:
“I got into journalism, being an activist, and doing this radio show because it was my way of saying, “Well, this is what I can do to help. This is how I can help.” I learned enough so that I didn’t feel like I was an idiot like I knew as much as anybody else did. Once I was able to do that, I got in at the point where there really weren’t many people.
There weren’t many transgender journalists. Now we’re a dime a dozen. There are all these kids who are doing this stuff now, but those days? There was no such thing. Nobody knew transgender kids. It was all people my age. It was people in their thirties and forties, and it was all girls […]”
In December of 2019 Juro published a first person reflective piece in Al Dia (Mission: “Documenting The Best of US Latino Experience.”) Among the quotable quotes and clever insights
I published a Yahoo email list called Becky’s List and sent it out for free. It was about things the government did relating to us, and general news that could be of interest for transgender people.
We live in a society where nobody wants to be different. But we are different and that is okay. It was a fight back then and it still is to this day, but things seem to be getting better.
At least that is what I tell my little sister. She is 25 years old, openly self-identifies as part of the LGBTQ community and is a drag king.
She explores gender in ways I didn’t even think were possible when I was her age.
“Now fighting for non-binary to be widely recognized is her generation’s fight. I did my part, marching, rallying, writing. Now, as I become an elder, it is my time to sit back a little bit and give the stage to the younger generation while I keep working on my book, which recounts the social fights of my era, and who knows, maybe even going back as a regular staff position journalist.”
My mother died at 76, my father died at 76. I am 57 years old now. I figure I don’t have that long left, but before I leave this world, I’d like to see real equality for people despite their gender identity. I want a better world for my sister, one where sexuality or gender will never be issued to her.
Juro left a message for all on her Facebook page December 16th, just days before she passed away, saying “
So it’s official. I’m being admitted to the hospital. Cancer’s back, larger, and pressing on one of my airways. Joy.
Hell of a way to quit smoking.”
Much of this post originally appeared in the Los Angeles Blade.