In honor of Brazil’s National Day of Transgender Visibility, Google is paying tribute to Brazilian human rights activist Brenda Lee trans. She was an advocate for the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ community. Brenda Lee founded the “Palace of Princesses,” a four-story refuge from the dangers of street life for transgender people and cross-dressers in São Paulo, Brazil. The Palace soon turned into one of the country’s first residences for persons with HIV/AIDS.
Brenda Lee was born Cicero Caetano Leonardo in Bodocó, Pernambuco on this day in 1948 and moved to São Paulo at the age of 14. In 1984, Lee purchased a four-story townhouse in downtown. The following year a series of hate crimes against trans people inspired her to open her home for those at risk of violence. A short time after, the Palace of Princesses was turned into the Casa de Apoio (Brenda Lee Support House), a care home for patients—trans or not—with HIV/AIDS.
Later, in 1992, the Casa de Apoio was legally incorporated and affiliated with the Emilio Ribas Hospital. To this day, the shelter — now funded by the State Health Secretariat — provides care for those who need it most.
Here’s to Brenda Lee whose legacy lives on through the humanitarian work carried on by the Casa de Apoio.