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Henrietta Robinson, an LGBT icon known as ‘Grand Lady of Miami Beach’ has died from coronavirus

Emma Powys Maurice April 4, 2020
Henrietta Robinson

Henrietta Robinson was ' beacon of light in the transgender movement' (Facebook/Miami Beach Pride)

A trans woman known as ‘Grand Lady of Miami Beach’ has died of coronavirus, marking yet another LGBT+ leader lost to the disease.

Henrietta Robinson, 79, was a renowned figure in the LGBT+ community and was celebrated as one of the first transgender people to live openly in Florida.

She recently underwent hernia surgery and was recovering at Mount Sinai Medical Centre in Miami Beach. It was here that she contracted COVID-19 and passed away on Friday.

Robinson was born in Akron, Ohio and grew up in Milton, Massachusetts, but would often say she was reborn in 1959 in Miami Beach.

She was a fixture in the nightlife community there and found freedom in drag queen fashion shows. The famous gay club Twist became her second home and earned her the titles ‘Grand Lady’ and ‘Mother of Miami Beach.’

She made such an impact in the community that in 2011 former Mayor Mattie Herrera Bower gave her a commendation on behalf of the city of Miami Beach for her activism.

Henrietta Robinson was a role model and inspiration to many in her community (Facebook/Henrietta Robinson)

Miami Beach Pride paid tribute to her as a “beautiful soul” who was a “mentor to so many”.

“As we continue to live through an unprecedented pandemic that affects our entire world, locally, our LGBTQ+ community has suffered heartbreaking losses of many incredible people,” they wrote. “One of those beautiful souls lost was Henrietta Robinson.

“Henrietta was a pioneer in the LGBTQ+ community. One of the first transgender individuals to live her life in Miami Beach. She was beacon of light in the transgender movement and a mentor to so many who struggled through the years.

“Being a resident of Miami Beach for over 65 years she was known as ‘The Mother of South Beach’. Henrietta was a welcoming face to many at Twist and was always there for those who needed a hug or comforting embrace.

“Rest in Peace Henrietta, your light will not be forgotten.”

Among the other great LGBT+ leaders lost to coronavirus is the pioneering transgender Latinx activist Lorena Borjas, who tragically passed away on Monday morning.

Like Henrietta Robinson, Borjas was described as a “mother” to her community, who are devastated by her death.

More: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Florida, Henrietta Robinson, Miami Beach, Pandemic

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