By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com April 26 2012 2:35 PM ET
A victory for transgender and domestic violence advocates came this week when the Justice Department named Victoria Cruz (and 11 others) as the nation's top crime fighters, according to Simone Weichselbaum of the New York Daily News.
Cruz, a transgender Latina from Red Hook, New York, and the other activists were noted for turning “their own experiences into a positive force for sweeping change,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. Cruz was honored at Washington D.C's National National Crime Victims’ Service Awards ceremony last week.
Cruz, now 66, told Weichselbaum she had been out since grade school, long before she transitioned. “I always knew that I was different,” Cruz said. “When I was in middle school they would call me ‘queer.'”
After being in an abusive relationship and anti-trans harassment on the job, Cruz became an advocate for sexual and physical abuse survivors and is now a senior domestic violence counselor New York City Anti-Violence Project.
“I am passionate about the work that I do,” Cruz told the Daily News. “People are coming out at a younger age. And putting themselves at risk. This award is making the invincible, visible.”
Read more about Cruz and the other honorees at the New York Daily News.