Friends mourn death of trans Atlanta activist

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A trans Atlanta activist who died on Tuesday is being mourned as friends celebrate his life and attempt to raise thousands to assist his family with medical bills and funeral expenses.

Juan Evans, 42, died on Tuesday morning at Emory University Hospital Midtown, according to the Futon County Medical Examiner. A cause of death was not released but Evans had been struggling with a health issue for several days, according to social media posts.

Services for Evans are scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at Virginia Highland Community Church. Evans lived with his wife Jacqueline Evans in East Point.

Friends and fellow LGBT activists mourned the loss of Evans on Facebook, including Xochitl Bervera who announced Evans' death on Tuesday:

It is with deep love, loss and sadness that we share that at 11:15am Brother Juan joined the ancestors. All we can say at this moment is “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” May Juan rest peacefully and we continue to fight. Love Never Ends!

GetEqual also reacted:

Rest in Power, Juan Evans. Your organizing, presence, and mentorship will be missed.

In the wake of Evans' death, Bervera launched a You Caring campaign to raise $20,000 to assist Evans' family with his medical bills and funeral expenses. By Friday morning, donations to Celebrating the Life & Leadership of Juan Evans topped $9,000.

Juan gave so much to so many. We need his community to give back to him now. We need to raise over $20,000 in the next week to cover the costs of his medical bills, funeral expenses and to support his wife and grandbabies at this critical time. Please give so that Juan can be buried and his life celebrated for the courageous, dignified, powerful life that it was! Please give whatever you can – big or small – as it all counts and will ensure that Juan is remembered and his family held by this big, loving community that he helped to build and gave so much to. RJAC will cover all fees so whatever you give will go entirely and directly to the medical and burial expenses.

Evans fought for equality in several groups, including the Blue House Family, the Solutions Not Punishment Coalition, Women on the Rise and the Racial Justice Action Center, according to the You Caring campaign. He was also active in Unity Fellowship Church, Greater Atlanta.

Juan was a freedom fighter who taught us again and again that “When We Fight, We Win!”

For him, for the justice, freedom and dignity for all that he dreamt of and fought for, we will continue to fight. We will continue to win.

Love Never Ends!

In October, Evans was stopped by an East Point police officer for speeding. Evans alleged that the officer harassed him, called him “it,” questioned his gender and jailed him as he was threatened by other officers during the ordeal. Evans reacted to the traffic stop in a video that prompted media coverage, outrage among LGBT activists and a march in East Point. Days later, Mayor Jannquell Peters apologized to Evans.

“I just wonder how many other people have been humiliated like this at the hands of the East Point police. How many others were outed in their jail cell in front of other inmates? How could they out me like that?” Evans told the Georgia Voice.

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